All afternoon, these two 11-year-old girls have been weaving their lives together, spinning stories, jumping on the trampoline, creating bracelets from colored rubber bands, hatching a plan with their fathers to go paddle-boarding tomorrow – these two girls who have known each other since before their own memories began to hold shape. Long past the age of teething and cloth diapers and still not yet at the age of first love and heartbreak, they’re at an age of real appreciation for each other, an easy comfort with their bodies and laughter.
In the adult world that seems to be spinning into madness, I’m struck again by the brevity of childhood – and its singular importance. Soak it up, I think, looking up from my desk as the girls wander in. Eat watermelon, filch peonies from an empty vacation house’s garden, lie on the grass and giggle. Soak up the season of childhood.
Let it linger, children.
The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out
Through the blinds and the windows and bars;
And high overhead and all moving about,
There were thousands of millions of stars….
(the adults) soon had me packed into bed;
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
And the stars going round in my head.
– Robert Louis Stevenson, “Escape at Bedtime”