When I was young, my family and I lived in a neighborhood that seemed to be my world. My school was only a couple streets away from where I lived and my neighborhood stretched to its doors. My house was a warm place; it never had any gloom anywhere, always an inviting comfort. In the summer when I would no longer have to attend school, yet my parents still had to leave for work. So I would often go to day-camps, in short little rides in the family van. I would never know where I was being taken because I would be far too preoccupied with what my friends were doing in the seat beside me. On the rare occasion that I would have to stay home, my family would arrange for someone to baby-sit me. Those days were normally filled with videogames and books. Yet, when my parents would come home I would get ready to play with my friends. I always liked to imagine that my mother and father would go to work and that was a place where grown-up’s went to play all day. All of my friends lived a few houses apart from my own. So when my parents would come home I would ask to go play with either Richie, Ben or Tom, or maybe even all of them. I was almost always granted my request and I would go around on my bike and pick up each friend.
One hot summer day the four of us all decided to go fishing in the nearby creek that stretched beyond our neighborhood, we had our toy poles with tackle boxes and bread to feed to the monstrous fish that we planned to take home and cook for dinner. I had gone around on my bike with all my equipment in my backpack. As we had all gathered our things we took off for the nearest bridge over the creek. We had determined that the biggest fish in the creek would be swimming in the middle. So as the sun began to descend towards the earth and a warm soft glow began to spread over each of us, we still had not caught a thing. Our entire half a loaf had been reduced to either soggy bits floating downstream or nibbled to crumbs on the surface.
Feeling quite dismayed, we became more frustrated with one another, blaming the others for the kind of hook they had used or the heat. I liked to think that we sounded quite adult; however as adults do when it gets late and the sun is about to set, in the summer it means it is about time for dinner. The four of us picked up our things from the dirt and we each climbed on our bikes. Then we all set off for my house, because my mom was going to be home later tonight than usual, and I had missed her dearly. She had also been kind enough to offer for everyone to stay over. So we slowly made our way back to my house with our rods strapped to our backs and earth worms in our soda cans for safe keeping. My house smelled of fresh cut grass and burgers on the grill. I raced into the house after we all dumped our bikes into the garage. I threw down my back pack and jumped into my mother’s arms.
My mother turns to me once she hears all of the commotion from the garage. “What have you don
“Do you have to leave tonight?” I exclaimed “I was hoping you could stay home!”
“Hun, you will have all of your friends over, you don’t need me tonight. Besides, aren’t you getting to old for me to read to you?” She responds as she lifts me into the air.
“No! I will always want you to read to me!” I say out of sheer stubbornness.
“One day you will be too old for my stories, but for now I love reading our stories and watching the storms pass out of your window.
“I do too Mom, maybe there will be a storm tonight!” She would be leaving for her second job on something called the night shift and I would miss her.
“No Jon, I have to go to work, but have fun with your friends.” She sets me on the ground again but did not let go. “I will think of you every minute I am gone. I love you sweetheart.”
“I love you to Mom!”
As she squeezed her arms around me I could smell the combination of hair spray and that warm aroma of love. I missed my mother most nights because of her second job, so quite often my dad would have to read a bedtime story and attempt to stop me from trying stay up waiting to see my mother. However tonight Ben had made the suggestion of sleeping outside in my family’s tent, we all agreed to that idea and quickly ate our food to begin packing for our adventure into the wilds of my back yard.
My mother prepared s’more supplies and retrieved my sleeping back from our basement. She departed while I gathered all the essentials of any exploration, binoculars, a knife, and hand-drawn map to stay prepared. My dad started a fire in the backyard’s pit and got ready to put the fire out soon after because of a fear that we might hurt ourselves. It took a great deal of convincing and Richie finally persuaded my dad from staying up all night with us. Once my father left and the sun had completely set we laid out our sleeping bags and roasted marshmallows over the fire. We talked about our day’s hunting, had bared nothing but a lost half a loaf of bread. As I sat in the circle of the closest friends and considered my problems already missing my mother and yet I knew these were only temporary and how I had not caught a single mine today only meant that there were still big fish to catch, my mother will always be there for me and no matter what happened I could rely on there being a tomorrow. These problems were only bread crumbs and water passing under the bridge. We all ate s’mores until we had to lie down and before you knew it, the sun was rising and it was time to start all over in childhood adventures.