Living

Want to make summer days slow down

Thursday, August 14, 2014

When I was a child, I thought like a child. The days of summer were long and lazy; filled with morning cartoons, carefree bicycle rides, nature hikes that lasted for hours and many adventure filled weekends spent at my grandparents.

I remember clearly piling at least seven or eight cousins into the back of Grammy Vigneault’s old Chevy Impala and making the trek down to Keyes field for family swim. We didn’t wear seatbelts, bike helmets or sunscreen; yet we survived!

Perhaps we live in a new world, but I cannot image sending my child outside today without smothering them in bug spray and sunscreen, buckling them securely into car seats; or sending them out to play in the morning with a smile and a message to “be home by dark.”

I longed to grow up back then; as most children do. Time crept slowly however, like a shoreline of sand sifting bit by bit through an hourglass. I thought for certain I would be a child forever!

Yet we learn, as adults; that time is the one thing we can never get back, nor slow down. It happens suddenly. We wake up one morning and realize that our youth has slipped away. The sheer joy of no responsibilities and boredom is replaced by the daily grind and a new sense of restlessness.

There is simply never enough time to get everything done. We rush through today trying desperately to fulfill all of our ‘adult’ obligations, in order to prepare for tomorrow. Our ridiculous desire to grow up faster seems like an erroneous mistake in hindsight. We secretly wish for a REWIND button, while trying desperately to slow time down a notch.

My summers have changed dramatically over the years. As a young adult, I relished the sunny days spent poolside, lakeside, or along the shores of any beach. As our children arrived and began to grow up, summer morphed into a break from their busy schedules of school and sports. And of course, summer always represented the beginning of their birthday celebrations.

The first four children were all born within eight weeks of each other. We would sail through July in eager anticipation of a happy stretch peppered with poolside parties and early autumn celebrations! Summer has always been my favorite season, followed closely by fall. They both represented happiness, warmth and sunshine; both literally and figuratively.

The last time that I greeted the launch of summer with such eager anticipation was in 2007; before everything changed forever. Thankfully, we were able to celebrate all four of their birthdays and start preparing for Christmas before tragedy struck; robbing us eternally of that safe and happy feeling summer used to evoke.

The first year I faced the start of summer with anguish and an overwhelming sense of pain. With every new bloom or sunrise, I would silently scream “How can life go on?”

The Carpenters song lyrics “Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore? Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?” played over and over in my head. Nothing made sense.

I cannot recall exactly where the strength or courage to survive came from. I only know we were surrounded by a foundation of love and support. Our family, friends, neighbors and community quite literally held us up.

Jaiden’s light guided me to form her foundation, and plan the most amazing celebration of her life that first year without her. It was our inaugural Jaiden’s Angel Foundation Golf Tournament, held on Jaiden’s 9th birthday.

And so it came to be that our new way of celebrating Jaiden’s birthday was to gather together on the golf course, honoring our beautiful girl and raising money for her foundation. Our mission is simple; to make a positive difference in memory of Jaiden, one family at a time.

We will hold it this year at Crotched Mountain Golf Club, on Friday, September 19. The raffle and silent auction donations have already started to roll in. We have a lot of work in front of us though, and deeply appreciate any level of support. You can learn more about our cause and this event at www.jaidensangel.org.

I no longer face summer with so much trepidation; as I have learned to accept that my beautiful Jaiden’s light will never really be diminished, so long as I am here to carry her torch. Please considering joining me on this journey; making a positive difference, in honor of Jaiden.

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