What is it about ‘going home’ in the summer that feels so pure, so childlike in its innocence? It’s been over 12 years since I moved away from Wisconsin. Yet every July, I long to be in my backyard on Burleigh Street.
I miss biking through the alley with my brothers. I miss sitting in the back seat of our station wagon with my sister, eating burgers and custard at Gillies every Sunday night. Most of all, I miss measuring time as an endless stretch of golden tans, chlorine-scented hair and the occasional bare foot getting caught in bike spokes.
I recently returned from a week visiting my family. We are all grown up with adult lives and problems. We talk to each other about the painful things. We disagree about politics. We pick on each other for our differences.
Yet, we laugh at the same old jokes. We still love going to Gillies. We’ll swim in just about any body of water, but fear the fish like we always have and will. We are different, yet fundamentally the same people we were back then.
Going home in the summertime takes me back to sacred places few can touch. It reinforces my sense of self and reminds me that I’ve become the person I always wanted to be, thanks to my family.
That’s a nice lesson to relearn every year.