Time is relative, and childhood is the proof. The fact is that I did not spend many summers at my maternal grandparents home, a couple yes, but not all summer, and absolutely not every summer. The truth though, in my heart, is that the greatest part of my childhood was an eternally long, sunny summer spent with my aunts and my grandparents. My parents obviously was somewhere on the scene too, must have been, then again in my memory they were just part of the set up.
Then there was Christmas and sledding and skiing of course, but that must be occupying another part of my brain. At least this two parts of my growing up do not share the same olfactory memories. Today, I need only the smell of scraping carrots to take me back to my grandfathers garden. I was allowed to pull the freshest tiniest roots out of the earth, rinsing them under the garden tap and enjoy them at once.
That is how summer tastes! And then the afternoons, there was coffee and kringle in the garden. I am sure my aunt would tell me how it was raining and how the Flammentanz did not bloom through the whole year, I know. To me, I need only the smell of a rising dough on my kitchen counter to take me back to the expectation of sitting on the white wooden bench, between some grown ups, listening to their talk and laughter, smelling and enjoying the overhanging roses and biting into the sweet icing on the still warm cinnamon kringle.
It was never so much about doing, as about being. That is what I aim for in making a home for my own family too, not only giving them memories of the things we do, but creating a treasure of homely smells, colors and sounds. Being aware of that what is only a fleeting moment for us adults may be what defines the whole childhood for our children. That will not happen if it does not ring true, no child is fooled by fake happiness. That will not happen if what I aim to do is setting a scene for something rather than making the trivialities of life itself pleasant. Perhaps that is why my memories linger and fills up an inappropriate big place in my heart, these summers were never activities to while away time, it was life itself, being allowed to take part, being useful, being in the middle of it, to belong.