The days are becoming shorter, the sweatshirts are now always close at hand. Backpacks and new clothes lay waiting for their time to shine. Summer is drawing to a close.
Summer is like an endearing friend. A friend who comes to visit once a year and stays for a couple of months. We try to cram as much fun together as we can...but knowing the visit has to come to an end soon and responsibilities have to return always hangs over our heads. When looking back it seems like just yesterday we said goodbye to the teachers and homework, but then when I think about how much we did accomplish, I realize summer's visit was just perfect again. We did almost everything we had hoped and wished.
Summer is when I get my kids back. It's when I can return to planning their days, setting goals that I can help them to accomplish, returning balance to our lives. I can make sure that their social, physical, emotional and academic lives are on track. It is my glory time of motherhood.
And yes, we did it all. We managed to fit in all the required fun stuff, and even ran across some unexpected new experiences. . .hiking with Grampy and Grammy in Maine, learning to rainbow loom, Pop Warner cheerleading, learning to sew, trail rides in the mountains (oh and the unexpected 104 degree fever in the mountains was definitely a new experience!).
But also had our projects to do....those projects you look at in February or April and say, "I'll have time to tackle that this summer." Like organizing the photos from the year before, donating old clothes and toys and making way for new things, getting the work done to the house like a new roof and fresh paint.
And to keep the brains from turning to mush, they have their academic goals to accomplish, this year they both had school math packets to complete, but I wanted them to have reading goals and writing goals as well. If they complete their goals there is a prize at the end of the summer....one thing they would like to have...call it a souvenir of the summer. For Melanie this year it is a Cape Cod Alex and Ani. For Kylie it is her Beth Walsh dance jacket she has been wanting for years.
Then there are the physical goals. What are the things the kids are struggling with that I can now have time to help them accomplish? Anything from learning to ride a bike to mastering a cartwheel. We set a goal, provide an incentive and usually are able to see it theough by summer's end. This year I set a goal for myself and the girls...a mutual fitness goal of running a 5k. We got a late start on the 8 week program, so it won't be accomplished by summer's end, but we are chipping away and I am hoping we will be making a decent showing at the October 20 Forestdale 5k. (Which is huge because the three of us do not share Tom's passion for running...AT ALL).
But my favorite part of summer? The lazy days at the beach...one text to all the friends, pack the car, sit in our favorite spot while friends show up throughout the day...kids running back and forth...disappearing for a few hours...appearing again with golden skin, sand in every crevice, growling bellies...Days that are endless and turn into evenings with more plans being made...the kids not wanting it to end with begs for sleepovers and moms shrugging..."sure...we have nothing else going on...." Moms picking up pizza, subs, or just stopping for ice cream, then sharing a glass of wine as the kids, with their endless energy run around the yard and house. Those days are harder to recreate as the kids have gotten older and the moms have all increased their summer work hours, and even the kids have more responsibilities...soccer practice, cheerleading, dance. But when those days do happen haphazardly they are perfect and to be cherished and embraced.
Now its coming to an end. Who wants to give all that up and return to the daily grind of up and out the door early with lunches packed, with the thought of 3 hours of homework looming on the other end of the day? Not me. But I can be encouraged by the thought of the fun that the school year can bring. The new friendships, the fall beach bonfires, football games, Halloween costumes and parties...not to mention how much easier my work schedule will be with a consistent schedule for the kids.
Summer? It's hard to say goodbye to a best friend. I am already thinking of next year and what fun we will have and what we will accomplish together. Next time I see you the girls will be another year older and several inches taller. But I don't want to rush it. Time is a beautiful fast moving thing. So I will embrace fall and the wonders and new experiences it will bring. I will put you away as a cherished thought and comfort of knowing you'll be back.