The sunny days seemed endless when I was young and summers were run by my mother. She was big on dreamy outings requiring picnic baskets, bathing suits and the occasional frisbee. She would marshal my brother and me and our friends into the station wagon and off we went to pick fruit and, later, to run up and down the sand dunes along Lake Michigan. The amusement park was an annual pilgrimage, even though every year she would, either after the roller coaster or some spinning ride, be bent over a rail vomiting. But she insisted that we return, summer after summer. In later years, she discovered Dramamine.
After these field trips, there was still plenty of time for performing diving board stunts at the pool and sweaty games of hide and seek in the dusky haze just before the street lights blinked on in the suburbs of Chicago. The telltale song of the ice cream truck ambling down the lane stopped in his tracks every child within a two block radius. What happened to the lazy pace, the feeling that these days would go on forever?
I was out for a stroll with my second grader a few nights ago. He slowed his scooter to a halt, crouched in the grass, cupped his hands and stayed still for a full minute. I studied his form, lean and lanky with his father’s long legs and ripe peach bottom. How did this baby boy, the one who weighed just more than five pounds and worried me to tears as he slept through every feeding, grow into this strong, curious creature?
Suddenly he popped up and whirled around. “It was a firefly!” he said. “It landed in my hands then it lit up a few times right there in my palm before it flew away.” His bright eyes blinked. My boy, my love. Stop growing. Just stay frozen right here, right now.
Well, if I figure out how to freeze time, you’ll be the first to know. For now, ice pops will have to do. Like summer, they don’t stick around for long. And like babies, they should be so sweet and memorable that you can close your eyes and think yourself right back.
I snapped up a pound of pretty yellow peaches and ripened them in a bag with a spotty brown banana (do you know that trick? You should…it’s a good one). Once pitted and chopped, I blended the peaches with a creamy mix of buttermilk and coconut milk, brightened the mixture with a touch of lemon then balanced the sour notes with a kiss of honey.
When my little guys are big guys, I hope one of their summer memories is of mom’s homemade this-is-what-summer-tastes-like creamy peach ice pops on the porch swing. I hope they remember it as holding summer in the palm of their hands.