Summer Breaks, With You
I remember summers at your house. My dad was in the Army, so we didn’t get to see each other once a week like other families. We only saw each other in the summer, when I was no longer in school. I loved summer at the ‘big red house’ as I would call it. I loved waking up to the smell of you brewing coffee for grandma. To you getting ready to go to the backyard to water the trees, as you passed by my room and asked me if I would like to join you.
I remember your green thumb. You taught me many things but one of those things was how to plant trees and flowers. I still to this day remember the tree we planted together in the old red house. From time to time, I still drive past that house and guess what our tree is still up, a school bought that house and made the backyard into a school garden, our tree is part of that garden grandpa.
I remember how you would play school with me. You would sit down in those little chairs with your knees to your chest and pretend like you were comfortable. How your acting skills came out and you pretended to be my student. I remember you telling me that I would make a great teacher one day; if only you could see how close I am to becoming a teacher. If you were alive, you would be so proud of me, and you would have reminded me of it every day. You would have reminded me of it at graduation, as you handed me a bouquet of tulips because you knew those were my favorites. As you walked into my first classroom, you would have reminded me, followed by a tight hug, and an “I told you, you could do it”. But most of all you would have reminded me how proud you were of me, on those hard, stressful late nights when college seemed impossible.
I remember our walks around the neighborhood, and that we would have endless conversations. I, however, do not remember many of our conversations, but I wish I did…
I remember your love for horses. Our rides to the ranch seemed like we traveled across the world. I remember looking out the window for what seemed like hours but in reality, it was only like forty minutes. I remember the window view going from a big highway, cars everywhere, and houses everywhere to two-way streets, empty desert space, and a random house or ranch from time to time. I remember how excited we would both get when we finally arrived because it meant it was time to feed the horses and then ride them. You taught me that all animals not only horses (even though that was your favorite animal) are our friends, that just like humans they need love and kindness.
I remember Sunday mornings and how you would force me to go to church with you and grandma. I disliked it because it meant that I had to sit quietly for an hour and listen to conversations that I did not understand that well.
I remember you being sick. I remember seeing my grandpa change before my eyes. You went from being mentally and physically strong to not being able to get up by yourself and to not remembering who I was. I walked into your house excited because I was finally able to see you, after finally returning from the hospital. As I got out of the car, through the window I saw you sitting on the couch, drawing on your drawing pad. I could not wait for our reunion, to finally be able to hug you, and for you to tell me how much you missed and love me. When grandma opened the front door I ran to you, with arms wide open, and gave you a big hug, you returned the hug. But as you returned the hug, you looked at grandma and asked her “who is this little girl?”. That was my first heartbreak. My second heartbreak was when my mom called me, saying that you had passed away.
But mostly I remember your kindness and patience. The unconditional love that you had for me and those around you. The excitement I would feel when we would arrive at your house, and you would be outside ready to greet me with a hug, ready to spend the summer with me and make endless memories that I will hold close to my heart for as long as I can remember.