The 2-year-old grandbaby was here this weekend, waving her hands in the jets of the sprinkler, splashing in the inflatable kiddie pool and pouring water.
She didn't mind the cracks in the yard from the drought or the stubble in the yard that we once called grass.
She is suspended in an age of bliss where summer is a series of leisurely delights -- walks with Mommy to the park, a snack cup full of Cheerios and the joy of crushed ice. She doesn't moan about the economy, gripe about the cost of gasoline or worry about work.
All she cares about is that Daddy is rolling up his pant legs and wading into the pool. She shrieks with glee. She's living the high life now.
Her 3-month-old baby brother lives in the summer of bliss with her. He has to be the easiest going baby of all time. He makes every other baby look difficult, and not just the other babies in our family, but babies around the globe.
He is carefree and simply happy to be. He is incredibly alert, appearing to listen to conversations and taking mental notes. It is as though he wants to say something, and probably has some very good insights on the topic at hand, but is wary of frightening the adults.
"Do your trick," his dad says. "On the count of three -- roll!" He smiles and kicks his legs and waves his arms, his little rolls of fat creasing above his thighs, below his knees and around his ankles. It is the only time in life when rolls of fat are adorable.
Although they don't own a single electronic between the two of them, need an upgrade on anything, and have no idea who Harry Potter is, they feed on discovery. Their joys are simple and their delights inexpensive.
You remember that age, right? When summers were free and easy. Before the mortgage, the car payment, the tuition, downsizing, the yard work, the bills that never end. Carefree days of summer are long gone now, the domain of children.
Later, I ask the son if he wants to walk down the hill to a flat stretch where there is an owl to be heard in the early evening. The owl is not performing, but the creek the son used to explore is only 20 yards away.
We maneuver through the tall grass and weeds, make our way down the embankment and hop onto a small isle of gravel and mud.
"How many skips can you do?" he asks.
I am not good at skipping rocks. I am good, however, at duty and responsibility. "We shouldn't stay," I say. "We should get back to help with the kids."
He sails a rock way down the creek. It skips four times and lands on another small isle.
I pick up a rock, take aim and hurl it into the embankment. He says I need to curve my hand more.
My next rock skips twice. Another one skips four times.
We skip rocks, swat bugs and sweat like Sumo wrestlers in the final shafts of sunlight.
And suddenly there it is once again, the sweet bliss of summer. Turns out something I thought was just for kids was only a stone's throw away.