A skinned knee, a skinned elbow, a 4-inch scar, a bee sting in your foot and mosquito bites on your forehead, your neck and your legs. Your father pulled two ticks out of your head yesterday.
A toothless smile to greet each sand-filled, ball-chasing, bike-riding, firefly-filled day. You smell like sunscreen and dirty feet. Your face is sunburned and your arms and neck are tan, they contrast with your white belly.
I buried my face in your belly and you giggled and drooled and smiled at me. I wondered if I could love you enough. Kicking legs, chubby cheeks and a toothless smile. I carried you everywhere as we chased your sister around her summer days.
Now your body is thin and tan, scarred by summer. I wish that I could keep the ticks and the mosquitoes away. I wish the sun did not burn and the bees would not sting. But I have given you this day, this life, and it is yours to run through every fun-filled summer day.I smile at you and you smile back with a toothless smile, and I cannot love you enough.
Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.