I am out of state helping my oldest daughter move into her first home. As we were shuffling things, she said to me, "Do you know when we knew we were big kids?"
Embarrassingly, I didn't.
"When you let us bike to Blockbuster. You would give us money, a subway sandwich order, and let us shop for movies, then bike home. It felt like we owned the world."
A warm rush of halcyon summer memories ran over me. I replayed images of my two daughters, both sporting blond ponytails. Clad in shorts, t-shirts, tennis shoes, and string backpacks heading off down the street, around the corner, past another seven blocks to the outdoor mall that housed Blockbuster and Subway.
Where we lived, sweet summer light hungs in the sky until 10 pm. Our street was dead-ended in two areas, leaving our neighborhood safe for endless hours of bike riding, skateboarding, even a few rounds of kick the can. Yet, the day came when they got to go beyond their paradise. I cannot recall what my emotions were that first day we sent them to fetch our dinner and movies. Likely, there were some tears. Tears of hope, joy, and pride. They'd earned this right. Though it wasn't Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn on a raft down a river, it represented the rivers ahead for them. Childhood was giving way to adulthood.
Crossing the threshold of my oldest child's first house, the echoes of that ponytailed girl ripped through me. She's lived on her own since college, as a family we have bunked in her varying abodes, making memories, sharing souls, and winding our way down her river of life. Today, her river bends broadly. A million eddies, sandbars, rapids, and fresh shores await her. Like her first parentless Blockbuster run, she's ready. Question is, am I? I think so, though time will tell.
For many of us summers held a million rites of passage. Solo trips to stores, unsupervised hours playing till the sun went down, first jobs, first crushes, first kisses, and more. This summer we are journaling your memories. Grab a writing utensil, and drift off down your river of summer memories. Catch them on paper before they wash away. What did you do? Where did you go? Who went with you? What did you cherish the most?
And may, just maybe Blockbuster is part of your memories.
Happy Full-Blown Summer To You.
*Blockbuster photo credit to Getty Images