Childhood · family · Modern Nostalgia · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Why I’m Not Letting this Late Summer Get the Better of Me

I’m struggling with summer this year.

We’re 21 days into June, and it still doesn’t feel like this season has really started yet.

Every afternoon, a smattering of raindrops streams down my window, and I feel my dreams for a magical summer sliding down beside them. As I sit inside at work, watching these rivers snake their way across the glass, I wonder why my stress levels are rising like the puddles I step into on a regular occurrence these days.

Maybe I’m just a little nostalgic for the way summers once were—for the way I remember them.

When I didn’t wake up before sunrise and crash on the couch at an embarrassingly early hour. When the lights from the lampposts were my nightly reminder to go inside and sprinklers solely existed to be run through instead of simply watering the lawn I need to regularly weed. When lightning bugs lit up mason jars and cloud gazing seemed like a perfectly acceptable way to spend the day.

When everything was magical and happy and, most of all, easy.

But I’m determined not to let this late-blooming summer get the better of me.

Earlier this week, on our way home, my daughter and I decided to ruin our dinner and stopped to get ice cream.

We sat outside on a patio and let the afternoon’s post-storm, humid air create sweat lines down our backs. We brushed our hair off our damp foreheads and dipped our spoons into our cold treats, savoring their sweetness. Later, we ate salad on the couch while we watched a silly show, and then I gave my daughter a little pedicure in the prettiest shade we could find.

As I painted her toenails, I looked up, wondering what Zoey might remember about her summers as a child.

Fortunately – or maybe unfortunately I guess – Zoey doesn’t have summers like I once did. She goes off to summer school as I go to work, and her real summertime exists in the evening hours and on the weekends.

But as we sat there together, me worried if I was really doing everything I could to make this summer one to remember, I watched a smile tug at the corners of her lips. I listened as her giggles filled the space between us. And I felt a familiar feeling bubble up inside me.

It felt easy.

I hope Zoey remembers that night. When mango gelato dripped from her chin as a rainbow appeared above us and the sun began its evening descent. When my fingers tickled her tiny toes as I painted them turquoise blue, the exact same shade of her nightgown. When she curled herself up against me as the ceiling fan whirred above us and the eager crickets chirped outside her window.

I hope she remembers her last words before sleep took her away that night.

“This was the best day of summer ever.”

Even if she doesn’t remember those words, I will.

I will carry her words with me whenever I’m feeling guilty that maybe summers now will never be what I remember. For not being able to give her a summer like those I remember.

Because other than being technical term for this season, what really is summer?

It’s a feeling—one I’m determined to create, for both her and for me, one ruined dinner at a time.

Childhood · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories · traditions

Come Sit Next to Me

My daughter, Zoey, and I stand inside the small entryway of our beloved neighborhood restaurant, Sylvie’s, waiting for the hostess to show up and seat us.

Zoey, in true six-year-old fashion, fidgets besides me, her tiny bones full of endless childhood energy. Yet in spite of my daughter’s movement, her hand stays nestled in mine, and as we watch the hostess round a corner and head our way, I feel a gentle, familiar tug on my fingers.

“Don’t forget to ask her,” Zoey whispers loud enough so I can hear over the din of the restaurant.

“Table for two?” the hostess asks.

“Yes,” I say, nodding. “But would it be possible for us to sit at a booth?”

The hostess smiles and tells us we are in luck. After leading us to a booth tucked away from the bustle of the room, she places our silverware and menus on opposite sides of the table in standard restaurant protocol and then leaves, telling us our server will be with us shortly.

I slide into the booth bench, but I don’t stop in the middle. I make my way toward the end, knowing what will happen next: Zoey hops up beside me, reaches across the table to turn her place setting around, and then finally settles down next to me, into the place she has rightfully claimed as her own. We spend our meal curved against one another, our conversation and giggles filling in the space around us with love and letting the rest of the world fade away.

Please click here to read the rest of this essay for Kindred Mom’s Around the Table series. I’m honored to be a Writer-in-Residence on the Kindred Mom team this fall!


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


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At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

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Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 39: Lessons in Laughter | Everyday Nostalgia

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Soft morning light gently nudges my eyes open, and I’m greeted by the appearance of a large picture window. Unfamiliar heavy, brown curtains frame its edges, and—for a moment—I don’t know where I am.

But as my senses begin to wake, I hear something: The sounds of hand washing and the voices of my mother and my daughter, Zoey—sounds that are happily interspersed with peals of infectious laughter—and I remember that Zoey and I are sharing a Wisconsin hotel room with my parents. Later today, we will attend my cousin’s early fall wedding.

The unforgiving, uncomfortable bed I’m laying in creaks beneath me as I roll over toward the direction of where the sounds are coming from. A full-length mirror hangs on the wall opposite the bathroom, and in it, though I can barely make out their reflection, I can see those faces I love. They both hold an expression I would only be able to describe as ‘bliss.’ Continue reading “Week 39: Lessons in Laughter | Everyday Nostalgia”

Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 38: Focusing on the ‘Haves’| Everyday Nostalgia

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My daughter Zoey and I are standing on the edge of a sidewalk, looking up. Wanting to take advantage of the day’s late afternoon warmth, we have decided to take a walk to the park, but something has stopped us in our tracks.

That something is a house. But not just any house. A house that stands so proud and prominent on this corner that anyone would have a hard time not taking a moment to stop and admire it.

For the past year and a half, Zoey and I watched this house take shape, and it has turned into a home so massive that it looks like multiple families should live here. Yet, from what I can gather, it’s meant for just one: There’s only one street number mounted to its flawless exterior.

Aside from its enormity, it’s also extremely beautiful: Its sleek, modern lines make it architecturally interesting. Floor to ceiling windows surround its walls, and from where I stand, I can see the daylight filtering inside through a few of them, revealing a perfectly set dinner table and a bottle of wine that begs to be uncorked. Although the yard is small, it is meticulously landscaped. There’s even a rooftop patio, one that sits high enough on the third story so that someone escaping to its comforts would be greeted with a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. Continue reading “Week 38: Focusing on the ‘Haves’| Everyday Nostalgia”

Nostalgia · Stories

Week 3: Find Your Must | Everyday Nostalgia

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I wonder if adults ask young children this common question because they want to be entertained a bit, believing that the immediate answer might be something outrageous, something silly. “I want to be a dog!” “A ninja!” “A mermaid!” “A dinosaur!”

“Spider Man!”

While some of these things might not be entirely possible to become (at least in their literal sense), I truly believe that the more common answers children have to this question—like a policeman, a fireman, a doctor, a teacher, a musician, or an artist (my five-year-old daughter Zoey is convinced she will own an art gallery when she grows up)—come from a place deep down inside them that is just waiting to become. It’s like their little souls know what their hearts want to do. What their hearts must do. Childhood dreams of becoming a pilot, or a chef, or dancer, or an astronaut, are the definition of the old adage, “the sky’s the limit.”

But then we become adults, where lower-than-sky limits manifest themselves and our “you can be whatever you want to be” dreams turn into “you can be whatever you want to be … as long as it it reasonable, stable and predictable.” And then we blink and our lives become this busy, overwhelming saga, filled with clutter and noise. Jobs, responsibilities, appointments, cooking, cleaning, eating, sleeping, repeating. Sometimes it’s hard to listen to what our hearts and souls are trying to tell us when there’s no space to let in things we need to hear.

But for children—with their uncomplicated lives—it’s easier to leave that space open. If their souls drive them to do something, they can hear the request, listen, and react—often without any hesitation. Ever watch a child as they listen to the first few notes of a song? They sing and dance along to it. Give them a blank piece of paper? They pick up a pen or pencil, and they begin to write, draw, and create.
Continue reading “Week 3: Find Your Must | Everyday Nostalgia”