As the school busses round our corners in the mornings, and the pleasant nip of September drifts into our evening dinner hours, we breathe a collective sigh to welcome the new season. And welcome it is. It’s been a long summer, and a bountiful one weather-wise; we enjoyed August temperatures in June and wrapped up the season with a near miss of Hurricane Earl, which brought the not unwelcome combination of rain, a drop in temperature and a nice breeze to Labor Day Weekend, summer’s melancholy bookend.
One thing about having small children is how it makes you recall your own childhood summers. The carefree endless days, hours upon hours spent outside, watching fireworks and waiting for lightning bugs, gorging on ice cream, building sandcastles and other small civic engineering projects from sand, rocks and seaweed, riding bikes, and waiting with delight for the big attraction to round the corner at that 4th of July parade. And yes, poison ivy, bee stings, long hot car rides, black and blues, skinned knees and water up the nose.
I did things the summer I never would have done without small children (and couldn’t do when they were babies). Pony rides. Train rides. Boogie boards. Floaties. Campgrounds. Root beer floats. Hot dogs. Pool parties. Hikes in the woods (short ones). Canoe rides (also short). Buying worms. Baiting hooks. Catching sunfish. Swings. Slides. Popsicles. Races. Lakes, ponds, oceans and swimming holes. Naps. Long ones. Short ones. Painfully interrupted ones. Bike rides. Lollipops. Sprinklers. Wading pools. Skinny dipping (the kids, not me.) Sunscreen. Bug spray. Lemonade. Ferries. Fried seafood. Collecting eggs. Catching spiders (though living in Carlisle, we do that in wintertime too.)
S’mores. Crocs. Crabs, minnows, turtles, frogs and rabbits. Even bears, mountain lions and bobcats, thanks to the Science Center at Squam Lake, New Hampshire. Old friends. New friends. Graduations. Birthdays, the very young and the almost done. Weddings (I’d be fine to never attend another, save my children’s.) Anniversaries – the joyful ones, and the tragic. Beer. Rose. Sangria. Margaritas. Dancing in the street. Not all at once, except for that one July party…
But adulthood always comes calling. Things I also did a lot of this summer: Laundry. Dishes. Trips to the swap shed (to return things my husband picked up the week before.) Weeding. Running. Shopping. Cooking (not that much, I confess). Email, phone calls, writing, reading, texting (but no tweeting. I just can’t). Work – perhaps not enough. Worrying – perhaps too much?
And through it all the sun is shining. The days are long - I should know, bedtime is clocking in around nine pm these days – Egad. And life is short. My kids, so young and so little at 2 and 3, are getting older, and bigger. And so am I (older, not bigger that is, I hope). The unbearable sweetness of summer is made all the more by the arrival of September. That big fat S on the calendar…..School starts. Sweaters. Socks again – yuck. New schedules. Fresh work assignments. The shorts are put away…the beach towels packed up. The sand toys buried in the basement for ten months. Where are those mittens…have the moths eaten my pashmina again? Will my jeans still fit? Putting on those closed toe shoes for the first time…And soon, the triple threat of Halloween, Thanksgiving and the hurricane of the “holidays.” The first snow, and the last eggnog. Skiing. Sledding. Skating…the flu. And so it goes.
This is life. I’m no fool; it’s a good one. Sometimes it’s great. And I’m grateful. Usually. Even though I’m not a kid anymore…most of the time that is.
Happy fall, everyone.