School started for my boys today. Christopher is now in 4th grade while Dylan steps into 1st. Summer break is officially over.
And I’m not ready.
I know most parents do a dance of joy when school starts back up, and I probably should to. I work full time and summer means an extra burden on my mom helping out. I just can’t afford full time child care. Of course, my mom doesn’t see it as a burden at all. I am so thankful my boys have a Grammy who wants them to be around all the time!
And it doesn’t matter that no matter what, moms over the centuries have been unable to find a way to keep our kids form growing up. Christopher says it’s the simple physics of time.
But it isn’t just the simple marching of time, is it?
The end of summer break technically means the end of summer. Even though it is still 100 degrees outside.
The end of summer means no more lazy days hanging out by the pool. Or on days when I worked at home, taking lunch break at the pool. It means no more staying up late so we can all pile in my bed and watch silly cat videos, or Ghostbusters, or Minecraft videos (I still don’t fully understand that game.) It means back to business. Back to early mornings, bedtimes, homework.
It means that we start anticipating the crispness that comes with fall. Cooler temperatures. Shorter days.
Fall is all at once my favorite season, and my least. I love the smells of autumn. I love the spices, the apples, the pumpkins, the awakening of your senses and your brain after they have been suffocating with the summer heat and humidity. I love Halloween and football. I love snuggling up on the couch with a good book.
But there is a sadness to fall as well. It’s not explainable really. I guess it’s the shortening of days. The lower amounts of vitamin D with the lower amounts of sunshine. The stillness that starts in fall that will pull us into winter. You don’t realize how noisy summer is until it’s over.
What I loved most about this summer was the easiness of it. The loping stride. The hours we spent just being together. With the faces the boys have now. With the way they talk now and the silly things they say. The way I’ve felt more comfortable in my own skin than I have in a very long time. The smell of my boys’ skin when they just stepped out of the ocean. The way the air smells at the beach. The way time passes when you have no where to be.
I’m not good at endings. Never have been. They make me feel all nostalgic.
But I also know that as much as I have loved my boys during this summer of their lives, I will love them even more in the fall and winter of their year. That with each ending there is a new beginning. That while I say that 6 and 9 are my favorites ages, 5 and 8 used to be but 7 and 10 will be my favorites to.
So the tears I shed today when I dropped them off at school weren’t sad tears. They weren’t happy tears either. They are the tears of learning to take life with a more loping stride. Not to hold on too tightly, because the simple physics of time says that it will march on. They were tears for how hard it is to grow up. For me and for them.