This morning the house is quiet. It’s September, and the kids are off at school – my daughter in grade three and my baby in kindergarten. I’ve just sat down in front of the computer with a hot cup of coffee and, for the second time this summer, I have the opportunity to write. Alone. There is no one needing me today. There is no one asking me to navigate Lego disputes; no one wanting an owie kissed; no one asking me to draw, build, read, or snuggle with them. On the one hand, I’m ecstatic to have some time to myself to focus on my work and my passions for the first time in, well, years. On the other hand, I miss my kids deeply, and I can’t help wondering if I’m alone in feeling a subtle sadness at the summer coming to a close.
We really had a remarkable summer. In fact, I think it was one of the best summers we’ve ever had! It isn’t that we did anything all that remarkable – there were no fancy vacations or exotic trips and our summer wasn’t spent camping or at the cottage. But we did focus on simplifying our summer, having experiences together and being truly present with the kids. And maybe that was what made it remarkable. Our summer was uncluttered, largely unscheduled, and the time we spent together was intentional.
I don’t mean to imply that our summer was perfect. Let’s be real - it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops. There were days the kids drove one another crazy (and me along with them), moments when I felt desperate for time to myself, and times when I altogether failed at this whole parenting gig. And although I feel it is important to acknowledge those days, they are not at all representative of our summer.
What comes to mind when I reflect upon these past few months is the peacefulness of evenings spent at the beach, the sight of the kids nodding off to sleep on the car ride home, the many, many picnics at the park and the joy on the kids’ faces when they were swimming. It was in those quiet moments that I was reminded of how fleeting this time with our children is. And maybe that’s why the start of school this year has brought along with it a sense of melancholy.
The end of summer doesn’t just remind me of how short the season is, but rather it’s the realization of how few summers we truly have with our children. The fun, the struggle, and the moments in between – I’m savoring it all because summer isn’t endless like the title of that 80’s song suggests…it’s fleeting and then it’s fall.