Summer still has a solid month to go, but ask any parent or student: it’s over.
School buses will be cruising our neighborhoods, shuttling kids off to another school year. Community pools will be closing, even though we’ve got a good four – six! – weeks of warm weather ahead. What’s the point in staying open if your customer base is spending those days sitting behind desks? College students are away from home, leaving empty rooms in family homes. Homework will soon become a regular part of life for parents and students alike.
School supplies have been amassed, teacher assignments delivered, new shoes purchased. What is it about the summer that makes kids’ feet grow a size or two? It’s only a few months.
Kids advance into a new phase over each summer; it amazes me how much they grow and change from June to August. Their friendships change, they learn new skills, they have new adventures. Over summers in the past my kids have learned to ride a bike, saw Mount Rushmore, first walked to their friends’ houses unsupervised. They’ve mastered a particularly difficult video game, done back flips off a diving board, and learned how to do laundry. By August, my kids are totally different people; they are older, wiser, bigger.
I talk to a lot of moms every day; these are my people, my tribe. We get each other. We all agree that summer is wonderful, that our kids grow so much during this time, that even though we will miss the free, unstructured days of summer, we look forward to the first day of school. We love it and hate it. Beyond the bravado, the gleeful countdowns, we are wistful.
I always find myself a little bit more emotional during these last few days before the school year starts. Though my kids may feel like I enjoy the back-to-school season a little too much, it makes me sad. It may be the knowledge that my calendar will suddenly become important; no more will I forget the date, what the day is. We will be on stricter schedules; bedtimes and mealtimes will be less flexible. We will be driven by more than what kind of ice cream to eat tonight.
What I am mostly sad about is that things change so much when summer ends. The people who were around me all summer long, who I saw grow and learn, will no longer be here every day. Family dynamics change when a new school year starts. Things become more serious, faster-paced. Change is not always bad, but how it makes everything so different is what sort of hits me at the end of summer.
Summer is a sentimental season, and I’d like to stay in it for a while longer. I like knowing that we are making memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives, like knowing that my kids will remember that they learned how to ride a bike, saw Mount Rushmore, and learned back-flips during summer.
When I look at it this way, I guess I do want them to grow up, no matter how hard that may be on me.