So as I set out to begin my annual end-of-summer clean up of the back yard and get it ready for all the trees to lose their leaves and then a long, snow-covered winter, I found some pretty awesome little souvenirs.
• Hotwheels cars partially buried in the mulch near the fence, patiently waiting for a little boy to find them and race them as fast as they can
• Pink, blue, yellow and red mostly deflated birthday balloons that found their way into and under the bushes after a birthday party... almost as if they were hiding, waiting for another child to find them and play with them just one more time
• Colorful plastic straws, bubble wands (and empty bubble bottles) & popsicle sticks buried in the sandbox
• Hair ties, sunglasses & metal s'mores skewers, in various places around the fire bowl. Leftovers from an evening of good times where the solar lanterns started to fade at the end of the night
I collected all those things and then rinsed off every plastic sandbox toy and placed it back in the bright green bin. One by one, summer fun went into the bin. I raked all the leaves out of the sandbox and then put the cover on. I turned and looked at the bin and this is what I saw. The shark/whale dude made me smile.
If these toys could speak, here's what they'd have to say:
"Thank you so much for playing with us this summer! We had so much fun helping you build castles and tunnels and mountains and caves. You even took us to the pool and threw us in there! Wheeee!! Our time is over for now, but we wish you a happy Halloween, a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and a great spring break! You'll have lots of other toys to play with all winter and spring but we'll be back next summer, and we will be so excited to see you again, Jocelyn, Connor, Hailey, Roman, Landon and Liv. Please bring Aleah with you too so we can have fun with her also! Grandma and Grandpa will make sure there will be even more of us for you all to play with. Much love, The Sandbox Toys"
So off they go into storage until then. We plan on having a couple of autumn bonfires before the weather really turns but our time in the refuge of the back yard is quickly coming to a close.
So until then... Goodbye Summer 2016, you were supremely wonderful.