We went out to dinner with friends to our favorite local watering hole the other night, the Winking Lizard. We got home around 8:30, and after the kiddo walked the dog, he and I went out back and threw the football around until it was almost too dark to see. As we were walking around the side of the house to head in, we were distracted by the lightening bugs just starting to make their presence known.
My gut told me to herd the child inside and get him into his ready-for-bed routine and settled in with a book. But something stopped me. I guess it was the sense of wonder I could see gleaming in his eyes even in the dusk. I watched him chase a firefly across the backyard. Then he told me over his shoulder that he has never caught fireflies before. With that, it was over. There was no other option except to toss the football aside and head back into the yard to catch fireflies with him.
As it got darker and darker, it became increasingly harder to find them when they weren’t lit up, but we caught quite a few over the next half-hour or so across our and our neighbor’s yards. The lightening bugs would land on us and crawl all over our hands and arms, lighting up now and again to make our skin glow.
After a while, we invited Tracy out to join us. The three of us wandering around out there must have looked pretty odd to anyone who passed by, but it was one of the best evenings ever. Soon it was too dark to catch the fireflies at all, so I collected the football and the three of us headed inside. And while the kiddo curled up with a book in bed, Tracy and I were left to remember a little bit of what it was like to be eight years old on your summer break, if only for a night.