Faith · Motherhood · Southern Days

Lightning Bugs and Summer Nights

The night sky made its appearance as we all sat in the pool chairs at my parents’  house, and my dad said to us, “Did you see that lightning bug?”  Sure did.  That little guy, being the first one I saw as dusk settled in, reminded me what it was like to chase lightning bugs. The way your eyes have to strain in the night to see the faint light of these little creatures who seem to never be in the same spot twice.  The way you would run around like crazy with a mesh bug catcher in hand trying to snatch those things!  You were always happy to catch just one.

My little loves’ faces were so excited to catch some lightning bugs as it grew darker and darker.  My mom provided a plastic cup with a lid and we went a-runnin’.  The Coach caught one and right then and there, our hunt was complete! It’s funny to see the differences in your kids’ personalities, isn’t it?  While my girl wanted to keep it trapped inside the plastic cup (poor thing had no ‘vent’ to breathe)
and put it by the nightstand all night, my boy, after enjoying the catch, was desperately wanting to release it.  

After my littles were in bed and the house was quiet, I sat there remembering all the times and nights outside watching lightning bugs and being in that house. Being at my parents’ house is always nostalgic. Because we live so far away, when we come to visit, we stay for a while and I always have time to travel down memory lane.  I remember so many summer nights there.  Summer days.  School days.  Holidays…

I remember a Christmas party upstairs with my high school friends and we laughed and laughed while we exchanged presents and ate snacks.
I remember the sound of lawns being mowed on Saturday mornings waking me up, but loving the sound of people taking care of their home.
I remember driving in the driveway after getting a speeding ticket and being so scared to tell my parents.
I remember watching countless movies with my best friend, having sleepovers, and staying up as late as we could.
Speaking of staying up late, I remember writing a research paper on the book The Joy Luck Club all in one night and got one hour of sleep before the next day in school (I made a 95 on that paper, by the way – procrastination might just work).
I remember my mom waking me up for school and knowing she would wait downstairs to hear the shower come on – her cue to know I was ‘up’
…and I would turn it on…but I would go back to sleep until the absolute last minute I could (Sorry mom for those water bills!).
I remember loving it when my two older sisters and their kids were there, either for the day, or overnight.

So many memories.  But then, I realized, these are just my teenage memories.  What about the memories of the childhood house?  I began listing those memories out visually in my head, too.   My sisters babysitting me, my younger brother being brought home from the hospital, watching my mom cook, the tire swing, the ditch we would play in, the trampoline with (GASP!) NO net.  

I looked around and thought about what I would do if my parents ever moved and I didn’t have to drive to that house anymore.  It honestly made me sad.  But then, I stopped.  I thought.  I pondered.  I loved the homes I had memories in.  I loved the walls that surrounded me.  But that house would be nothing if it weren’t for the people who were inside.  It truly isn’t WHERE the catching of lightning bugs and summer nights happen;  it’s about WHO it happens with.

My parents, my siblings.  We are NOT perfect.  We are flawed.  We have issues just as good as the next person. BUT, THEY are the childhood memories.  They created the lightning bugs and summer nights.

I went down the hallway, checked on my littles and watched them sleep for a bit, and I began to pray. I prayed, especially since we have our own move coming our way, that Coach and I would be the memories for them.  That they will be the memories for each other.  My prayer is that when they go and catch lightning bugs again, whether it be with each other, with us, or with their own families one day, that they will remember.  And they will remember fondly of the place, but even more so, their heart will be full thinking of the who they were with.

Here’s to more lightning bugs.

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