Tag Archives: sunshine

Soak up the Sun

12 Jun

The other night, Nick and I were dashing through Target before they close, grabbing a few essential items. As we were walking out the door at 9:45 pm, a young, disabled, seemingly homeless man practically brushed my shoulder. Suddenly, I was immensely grateful for the gallon of milk, loaf of bread, 12-pack of toilet paper, and peanut butter M&Ms we had just purchased. Nick knows how I am with homeless encounters in the city. He looked at me, “Are you going to be okay?” And sure enough, I busted into tears. I should know better…these encounters have been frequent since we’ve been here. Several weeks ago, I was in the toiletry section when I noticed a man with his backpack and several bags counting cash in his hand. He was making sure he had enough to buy a bottle of mouthwash. It’s these moments that make me very, very fortunate for all I have in my life.

I’m telling you all this as an explanation for the rest of my post today. Not only do I tell really detailed stories, I also have a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY big heart. Hence my frequent fits of crying I’ve put Nicholas through. He usually just calls me a baby. I don’t mind. =)

Yesterday, I was inspired to write this post. I heard the song, “Soak Up The Sun,” by Cheryl Crow, and it got my gears to turning. I was thinking back to a Spring Break some eight years ago now with my family in the Clearwater, Florida, area. The song flooded the radio stations that spring and summer, and I remember how every time it came on the radio during vacation, my mom or I would turn it up and we’d bust out singing. My dad probably wanted to rip the stereo out of the dash by the end of the trip. I’ve been really lucky in the fact that my family was able to take either a spring break or summer vacation (sometimes both!) almost every year growing up. Well, at least once my brother and sister came along…so since I was probably 10. And before then, we were always taking fun trips with my extended family. I used to pretend by grandparents van was an airplane. I was the flight attendant. I loved that CB radio.  What can I say? I was creative! And an only child…for a looong time!

But in due time, my little brother and sister did come along. I’m almost positive my parents were probably just sick of me begging for playmates. They turned out to be pretty great playmates…I could make them do anything I wanted! One of my favorite memories involves setting up the Little Tikes table in the kitchen with a sweet cash register my little brother, Austin, probably got as a 1st birthday gift. I made him walk around the kitchen and “buy” anything he pulled out of the cabinets. He loved it. As did I.

So of course it was hard at age eighteen to make the big move to Ball State. Hence, the frequent trips back home with my good friend Katie first semester; our excuse–why, to go to Mooresville football games, of course! Secretly, I loved sleeping in my never-changing bedroom at home. Especially knowing that in the rooms next to me were my incredible parents, my annoying little brother, and my precious, spoiled little sister, Abby.

Even harder were the comments from the growing tweens during my later visits home. “When are you going to move all of your stuff out of your room?” “Mom, what are we going to do with Ashley’s room when she finally moves out?” “Ya know you’re going to have to pay for your own cell phone bill soon, dontchoo?”

Even harder still, the day my little brother answered the phone and his voice was two octaves lower, the day I recently found out he officially shaves his facial hair (it has to be a single hair, because I have yet to see any semblance of a beard or ‘stache),  and right now, the fact that he’s in driver’s education. Or how ’bout the days I’ve tried to convince my sister that her friends’ fashion statements aren’t cool, the day she finally started to get serious about reading (after years of nudging from her big sis), or being forced to watch her blossom into a beautiful young woman during visits occurring after month-long hiatuses due to my life as an “adult.” I guess, I dunno, I feel like I’m just missing out.

I promise I’m not trying to give you the, “Oh, woe is me!” schpeel. I’m just simply noting the struggles of a much older sibling when trying to stay involved in younger siblings’ lives. For example, during my recent impromptu trip home for my grandpa’s funeral, I was able to attend my sister’s last day of school as a 6th grader—she’s headed to middle school next year. It was a wonderful opportunity to stay involved and watch her interact with her friends and teachers. (She’s growing up too fast for me to keep up…) And maybe one day she won’t remember the fact that I tagged along with mom to this big event, but I definitely will.

I especially miss soaking up the sun with my family this summer. Since they put the in-ground pool in several years ago (after I had “moved out,” I might add), my favorite thing to do at home is sit by the pool during hot, humid Indiana summer days. Last summer I sat pool-side a lot—margarita and a good book in hand. (Okay, so I’m a spoiled “adult.”) And this summer, Nick and I are battling rainy days on the weekends when he’s home and we have opportunities to hang out all day. We better be soaking up the sun soon here in Minneapolis. We have 10,000 lakes to choose from in Minnesota and my swimsuit is developing cobwebs…

So I’ll wrap things up by adding this: As I type, my family is on a trip out to Colorado for a few days. My dad has some classes to take for work. I’m missing out on some awesome verbal and physical car fights in the back seat, watching my brother drive across the state of Kansas, snuggling with my mommy and little sis in the back seat during an afternoon nap, and most importantly, verbal threats from my dad from the front seat. =) All things I miss when I’m out experiencing the real world as an official “adult.”