The door handle has taken to falling off our back screen door again, it gets such frequent use.
I've stopped requesting the kids put their shoes on; my words fall on deaf ears.
Every evening I have ten very black feet to scrub, ranging from very tiny to just about my size.
It's summer here.
And it's wonderful.
I don't know what the magic is, don't know if I can explain it.
There's something enchanting about the long, unhurried, sunny days of summer.
Everything is green and the light lingers each evening. Our family time is extended and we have time for games in the evening and pans of brownies that don't make it into the oven until 8 pm.
The outdoors becomes our playroom; bikes and roller-blades litter the driveway, stuffed animals on strings decorate the trampoline. The kids' skin becomes bronze and their hair streaked with even more blonde.
But more incredible than nature's splay is the camaraderie among all five of my kids, ranging from twenty months to nine years old. They play together all day long. Sure they occasionally fight, but I've never seen them cooperate and play so well as they have this summer. Literally from the time they get up to the time I call them in to get ready for bed they are inventing some new game, upturning the dining room chairs into forts, riding bikes and scooters around the cul-de-sac, playing house with their animals, jumping on the tramp, or reading books together.
I know it can't last forever, this symphony between my kids, but I'm loving it while it lasts.
They are doing what kids should be doing - learning through play and exploration. They are enjoying a couple months off from any responsibilities, any pressures to perform and simply just being, just enjoying each other and summer's beauty.
I hope they are making beautiful memories. Memories of carefree summer days where outer space is the limit when it comes to imaginative play. I hope they are forging a life-long bond between themselves, a bond that is rooted in the sand, chalk, and the make-believe of their childhood days.
Whether it's the late sunsets or the possibility of vacations, I hope summers will always hold a little bit of magic for my kids.
I get a taste of it myself with the windows that won't stay clean for an afternoon and the ever present muddy puddle in front of the fridge. They mean my kids are here. Home for the summer. Together. Making memories. Just being.