The Magic of Summer
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Of course there was no TV reception at the summer house, much less cable. So Becky was going to miss the single biggest television event of the year.
She was 7 years old and we were criminals. We were stopping her from knowing Aaron as others would know him. We were preventing her from seeing the program everyone else would watch – and talk about. It was the equivalent of banning her from the season finale of Mad Men.
She begged us to let her stay an extra day. She sobbed. She pounded her fists on the table. And we almost cracked. We came very, very close to shaving a day off her summer vacation so she could stay home and watch the Aaron Carter Special.
To this day I can remember shutting the car door as my husband and daughter set out from upper Broadway, the car packed to the gills, for the eight-hour drive. The rain was teeming down. My daughter was literally wailing as we strapped her into her seat. I don’t even know if she said goodbye.
I walked to the subway crying myself. Had we done the wrong thing? Had we denied her the one true symbol of her own independence and separation from us: her love for Aaron Carter?
Cell phones were a rarity back then so I did not hear from them as they drove the long hard drive up I-95 through Connecticut and Massachusetts and New Hampshire to Maine. (Not to mention that once you get to Maine, it’s another three or four hours before you get to where you want to go.) Was she hysterical the entire trip up? Was I the world’s worst mother for not understanding her needs?
Finally, at a little after five that evening, when the rainstorm was long over and the sun was beginning its descent toward the horizon, the phone rang. It was my husband. “How is she? How is she?” I asked, still a little frantic. “Is she okay?”
“I’d put her on,” said my husband, “but she’s out looking for fairies.”
Put some magic in your children’s life this summer if you can. Whether it’s in Maine or upstate or Central Park. Turns out it’s even better than an Aaron Carter special, and it can last a lifetime.
Margaret McNamara is the Christopher Award-winning the author of the Fairy Bell Sisters series, about Tinker Bell’s little sisters (who live on a magical island). She has also written a number of picture books, among them How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?, The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot, and the Robin Hill School series. She lives with her family on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.