As many of you know, I grew up in New York City.
My Mom and Dad took us away from the city each and every summer.
We either went to Ireland for the summer, to stay with family, or we headed north to the mountains.
I had a very good childhood, and I feel very blessed.
I don't have many memories of summer in New York City, but one very distinct memory I have is of us playing in the sprinklers in a park on a hot summer day.
It must have been while school was still in session, because as soon as school was out for the summer we headed away.
We came back to the city right before school started again.
I hated going back to the city.
We spent the entire summer outdoors. The only time we were inside was when it was raining....or we were sleeping.
Not like kids today, that's for sure.
When we were in Ireland, we were surrounded by family. I have hundreds of cousins in Ireland, a huge family.
It's sad that geography keeps us apart.
We stayed on a farm when we were in Ireland, where my Aunt and Uncle kept cattle.
I remember running across the fields, trying to stay away from the bull....and the cow 'patties.'
It was a wonderful place to spend the summers.
And then came the summer we traveled all across the United States, camping in 19 different states.
We had a 21 foot Shasta trailer, with 4 bunks in the back bedroom, for the three of us girls. Up front, the table folded down and became a bed for Mom and Dad.
There were five of us in that tiny camper.
And it was one of the best summers of my life.
Eventually, the summer ended, and Mom and Dad found a campsite about three hours north of NYC to park the camper permanently.
After that, we started spending more and more time in the mountains.
I remember how happy I felt when we would finally get out of the car....it was as if I could breathe again.
I used to sleep with all the windows open in my bunk, so I could smell the fresh air and hear the night noises.
I still sleep with the windows open.
Days were spent in the pool, nights around the campfire.
Life was good.
There was a creek that ran along the back of the camper. It sang a sweet song that lulled me to sleep, and it was where I spent many hours, splashing around searching for frogs or newts.
I taught my Barbies how to swim in that creek.
There was a huge old Maple tree in the middle of the field. It was the perfect tree for climbing, and there was a branch perfectly suited for spending hours up there with a good book.
Can you tell I was a bit of a tomboy?
After dinner, we would go for long walks along quiet country roads.
We walked for miles, enjoying the beautiful countryside.
Quality time, for sure.
Our campground had a rec room for rainy days.
I learned to play a mean game of pool in that rec room, something I still love to do.
We had a little shop, with milk, bread, candy and ice cream.
And marshmallows, of course.
Someday I will buy a vintage camper and restore it.
It's on my bucket list.
Eventually, Mom and Dad bought a house not too far from where we camped, and they sold the trailer.
I wish they had held onto it.
As we became teenagers, we got jobs at a local resort, and worked summers in the mountains.
We established life long friendships with our coworkers, and the mountains became like home to us.
I guess it's no surprise that eventually I left New York City, to permanently live in the mountains.
It's been in my blood since I was a happy, carefree child.
I never really felt like a city kid. I always loved the country....the city was just a place I had to be. The country is what I dreamed of.
How blessed am I that now I am living my dream.
Thanks, Mom and Dad.
Happy Father's Day to my wonderful Dad.....and to all the other amazing dads out there.
Remember that what you do with your children today will become the memories they cherish as adults.