For the Love of Star Wars (Summers)

Star Wars toy tea party

Summer is almost over, and counting by the number of skinned knees and connect-the-dot mosquito bites on my kids, it’s been a good one. Because Star Wars.

Let me explain.

When my husband and I were kids, summer meant an endless stretch of unplanned days. The world was our galaxy, and we were free to explore it as we saw fit. Pinterest and organized play dates were non-existent, tablets and smartphones hadn’t even been invented yet, and instead of organics and whole foods, we subsisted on Ecto-Cooler and Marshmallow Fluff and happily survived.

I like to think that George Lucas influenced it all with his creativity and vision, perhaps even thinking of little kids who would spend summers inspired by the space opera he had created.

Trees in the backyard suddenly became the verdant forests of Endor, water balloons for a boys vs. girls Battle of Hoth was the mid-week norm, and when we rode our streamer-handled Huffys, we’d pump our skinny legs so fast we truly thought we could make the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs. Every kid knew how to twist the suspension chains on the neighborhood tire swing just so to make it seem like the rider was suddenly surging into hyperspace, and playing long and hard meant we loved every single minute.

Anything and everything enhanced the creative process of being kids back in the day, so this year, we made a conscious effort to go old school with our own two, borrowing from the ’70s and ’80s of our summers past.

And it was grand.

Paper towel tubes became homemade lightsabers, hooded towels turned them into pruney Palpatines after every swimming lesson, Chewbacca threw a tea party, Darth Vader went on a scavenger hunt with Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, everyone ate too many Wookiee cookies and drank too much powdered lemonade, and we watched Star Wars movies over and over and over again under blanket forts as a family.

Yoda once said “truly wonderful, the mind of a child is,” and you know he’s right. After all, our kids are only kids for a little while, and though structure and order have an important time and place in their young lives, we owe them the chance to experience summers like we did – exploring, discovering, and just having fun with Star Wars as a kind of intergalactic guide to childhood play.

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