Yellow Farmhouse; White Rocking Chair

By Kayleigh Rahn
William and Nora stopped by the office late Monday afternoon. 

Between newspaper prep and a meeting to cover, I wanted to spend a few minutes with them to check in and learn about their days before they headed home for the evening. 

Nora charged around the front counter and ran full force into my arms. That’s when it hit me. She smelled of sweet summertime. 

From the instant I wrapped her in my arms I could tell she had one those perfect late summer days. That heavy, sweet smell of humid air and toddler sweat with just a hint of sunscreen completely engulfed me. That smell wove through her sundress, hung in her golden curls, and brought me a rush of nostalgia and promise of summer adventures yet to be. 

In that moment, memories rushed in of visits to my grandparents’ farm, long days at 4-H camp at Allerton Park, weekend softball tournaments, and long shifts lifeguarding at Tuscola pool. Nostalgia and scents are funny that way–there’s nothing then all of a sudden everything is crisp and clear.

Monday was a true August day, the kind of hot that takes your breath away as you step out into it. However, kids, especially nearly 3 year olds, don’t notice the depth of the heat. They only see the sunshine and the fun. I could tell in one instant that my girl had spent a perfectly uneventful day outside as the final countdown of summer begins to settle. 

One of the many reasons we love our daycare provider is her promise of as little TV as possible, which means these kids love playing outside. I’d spent a long Monday in the office with only a few seconds in the sunshine. To have just one moment to soak in her summertime excitement was entirely rejuvenating, even if it was by proxy.

Summer has slipped by quicker than I ever remember, and we’re officially one year out from Nora starting preschool. The heat and sunny weather will linger for several weeks as Douglas County students head back to their classrooms, so I think Nora and I will spend some much needed days in the sun before the chill sets in for fall. 

We have pleanty of chalk, bubbles, sunscreen, bug spray to use before the leaves begin to fall.

I need to make a greater effort to drop my chores and run out the door with her when she wants to play outside. The housework will wait, but I know these sweet summertime play days are temporary. Sooner than I’d like to admit, she’ll be too busy to soak up the sun with the same unadulterated enthusiasm. 

Don’t worry, though, we have found time to slow down this summer. Nora has found a love for watching the night sky and listening for bugs (thanks to a great program at the Douglas County Museum). She watches the lightening bugs dance across the bean field, and we’ve learned that stopping to smell the flowers (real, plastic, or other) is a full-time hobby. The Rahns traveled from Michigan to Florida, we only missed one outdoor movie hosted by the library, and we have attended nearly every parade in the county. Between swimming, ball games, the county fair, and cookouts, it’s been busy but sweet. 

With school back in session, remember to keep an eye out for students walking and riding bikes to school, watch out for our athletes training on our roads, and be on the look out for ways to support our students in their extra curricular activities by attending an event. 

Thanks for the memories, Summer 2019.

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