When You’re Here it is Always Friday by a. woz

flamingofeetEvery summer, between volleyball camp and the start of the next basketball season,  the nieces arrive with their duffel bags, several pairs of flip flops and a thirst for hot chocolate at odd hours of the night.

What began as a weekend to practice our potential parenting skills on someone else’s kids became – years later- a full week of summer vacation for some cousins all hosted by an aunt and uncle who love playing a small role in growing these spirited and talented girls into young women.

For anywhere from four to seven days our home is turned into a never ending slumber party and food factory.  It is Girls Week and we make memories out of whatever happens.

When hosting the girls for summer time, the rules are all different from home.  We have the added luxury of having no schedule to keep but the one we create for ourselves and post on the fridge.

  • Swimming is a main priority
  • Planning menus and cooking together is constant
  • Sleeping in the camper is where the age of “old enough” is defined
  • PJs can be worn all day, hair does not have to be combed
  • Bedtime does not exist on any clock
  • We always watch a movie with a strong girl role model
  • When the cousins come to visit – every day is Friday

Just like on any good vacation, a true measure of the amount of relaxing that is going on depends on the ability to lose track of the calendar day. Every day with these girls is like the best day of the week, the day that kicks off a traditional weekend of fun. Whenever anyone asks what day it is during girls week, so as to check what is on the menu or find out what the scheduled adventure of the day is going to be, they get the same answer,  and sometimes it is shouted in unison, “It’s Friday!”

We swim at the local beach where once a cousin swore a snake had brushed her calf as she was standing in the shallow water.  A 70 year old man on the beach, a native of the area who came every day for his morning swim,  laughed at our wild screaming and pointing, but wagged his finger and confirmed that for years snakes had hidden under the very dock that we had been jumping from. To this day we call the spot Snake Lake though we haven’t seen a snake since.

One humid morning, it began to rain just after we settled into our normal spot under the swaying twigs of the old willow tree. Everyone was so disappointed, but instead of leaving, looked at each other and laughed, then ran and dove into the water.  They swam in the sprinkles and dared it to continue.  As though the sun could not resist these girls, these walking sunbeams, it came to claim them, driving the rain clouds to some one else’s town and letting them swim until the call of cheap baloney sandwiches dragged them up to the picnic table.

We eat freezy pops and popsicles until the sides of our mouths are sore from sucking the colored juice from the plastic sleeve and we control the seasons by using shaving cream to turn June’s lazy summer days into January snow parties by spraying the entire length of the play set slide and blasting down through the white foam.  We have made our own mini waterpark resort by dragging the garden hose to the top of the slide and then wore away the grass as we set near Olympic distance records in the mudslide competition.

No one will forget the culinary lesson learned by seeing several strings of spaghetti noodles draped on the faces of the cupboard doors because someone had read somewhere that noodles, when taken from boiling water and tossed to the oak doors, will stick there, if they are done cooking. It is still a tradition to test the noodles this way and usually the youngest gets to make the first toss.

The camper has become the scene for many a future Hollywood screenplay.  Sleeping out there is allowed when the big girls decide that a younger cousin is just old enough to keep the secrets of the night.  Out there,  is where ghost stories are told and someone usually scares the pants off a victim by sneaking up on the trailer.  They stay up as late as they can playing cards and taking silly pictures of each other and doing what girls do best, joking and teasing each other in ways that develop character and strengthen their ability to laugh at themselves while learning something from each other.

Over the years, as it happens, several of the original little girls grow up.

They arrive now in their own cars, piled with pillows, snacks and a healthy dose of loud music and always a younger sibling or a couple of cousins tucked in the back seat. The bathroom has more blow dryers and make up bags when they visit these days,  and somehow, despite all the growing that happens between the ages of 4 and 21, there seem to be smaller bathing suits hanging on the deck to dry!

Though we have sat together for many summers under the ceiling fan in the living room to watch movies where the girl is the heroine, I’m so proud that they have learned to make just as much of an effort to just be themselves, different heroes for having survived all the pitfalls of growing up and all the while becoming their best selves –  girls with happy faces, who continue year after year, traveling here to Aunt Nita’s  to gather together and make the magic of summertime Fridays.

– Where it’s always Friday,

A. Woz.

Child Grower


2 Responses

  1. WOW!!!how true is all of that..your amazing at this stuff it makes me giggle and smile whenever i read your blogs..its aaaaaaaamazing…and always & forever will be FRIDAY!!! at annitas!!

  2. I LOVE IT!!!!! it brings back so many memories, u made my day when i read this………..reading this makes me want to start countin down the days til our next friday week!!!! closer yet is state wrestlin Yaaaaay!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: