The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad, monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone,” they sang. “Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.” The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year—the days when summer is changing into fall—the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”
These most beautiful days of the year do make us all a little sad. Or at least anxious; the kids have tried on their new school clothes a dozen times. But these days also overtake me with nostalgic joy. I realize looking back that we have, once again, created a long list of memories through a wonderful summer.
Every year on the last day of summer, I ask the kids what their favorite activity was during the school break. And every year, without fail, they list things we did that didn’t cost us any money. Let me be clear: we spent money this summer. Lots of money. Too much money. We spend too much money every summer. But every summer, the kids’ fondest memories come from the things we did for free.
Olivia said her favorite day was going over to Uncle Mike’s house to play yard games like Frisbee and horse shoes. Isaac’s favorite was jumping from the rope swing at Quinn’s pond. My own favorite memories from this summer are similarly simple. We had a backyard campout. We made a rocket stove out of cinder blocks. We put up a swing. We threw handfuls of coffee creamer into a fire. (If you haven’t tried that yet, go buy some coffee creamer and cram in one more amazing summer memory!)
In 1972, Shirley Harvey wrote an article in the Ensign about family fun. She asked, “have you ever noticed that it’s the little things you and your family do together that you remember as the most fun: a hike in the woods before the snow is completely gone, an evening around a fire toasting marshmallows and talking, projects such as building an outdoor fireplace or making a birdhouse.”
We had family in town last week and did all kinds of simple and silly things together like we always do. We had a campfire and we went to the pond and we played horseshoes and shot BB guns and went to the zoo and ate food. My brother and I had a contest to see who could jump into their shorts. I don’t know if there’s really any way to win that contest. I know I didn’t accomplish anything that felt like winning. But it was a great time.
At the end of the trip, my Mom posted something in our family page: “One thing I really like about you kids is the way you make your own fun. You haven’t been given speed boats, 4 wheelers, or skis, but you can taken an old canoe up the canyon, forget the paddles, and have a great afternoon anyway. You can jump into your own shorts, for instance, and it’s a party. I love you all.”
So as the crickets sing and the summer closes and the kids go back to school, I am a little sad. But I’m also just so very grateful for family and for fun and for the simple, inexpensive times we had these last few months. These are the days that we’ll remember always and the pictures we’ll look back on fondly to remember how lucky we were to be a happy family and to have so much fun together.