Around mid-August, a little pit started in my stomach. Summer was almost gone! Only two weeks until my kids and I were to go back to school and work! Only two more weeks of lazy mornings, romps down to the river, kids sprawled with books on couches for hours at a time, swim lessons, berries, camping, spontaneous visits with friends, and forts and crazy art projects that take up large spaces of time and square footage. I think I mentioned before that I adore summer. And that spring can bring me to my knees in happiness because it means that summer is near.
Well, August ended. The first day back to school (for me) arrived. One of my best friends works with me and she greeted me with excitement at reuniting with colleagues and friends. I looked around at the competent, caring teachers and staff who were also sad to say goodbye to summer but ready to tackle the 2014-2015 school year. I remembered the students and work ahead of me for which I had labored three years in graduate school, who challenge me to creatively solve problems, and make me laugh almost every day. Then one of my co-workers whispered, “you remind me of Angelina Jolie”, and that filled my bucket for the remainder of the inservice on longitudinal math data.
Momentum gathered as back-to-school night for my kids came and went, I attended a three-hour workshop on “Executive Functioning”, and new shoes were purchased. Our family gathered at a cottage in a pear orchard with two other families we regularly meet with through the fall, winter, and spring. The trees surrounding us were heavy with nearly-ripe fruit, perfectly formed and full, ready for harvest.
This summer has been a season of plenty for us. All summer long we have gorged ourselves with every good thing – friends, nature, beauty, learning, home-grown vegetables, family, rest. We are ready for fall’s harvest. We release our kids to their elementary school, I return to part-time employment and volunteer work, and John starts a new job at the Forest Service.
We renew our minds and bodies for schedules and discipline: wake up times, lunch-packing, homework, IEP-writing. We look forward to what the season holds: new friends, piano lessons, holidays, and visitors from Haiti. For the first time, John and I both have Fridays off together while the kids are at school from 9-3:30!
The September harvest and scattering of our family reminds me how much I like my kids and miss them when they are away. Something I noticed the first week of school was that in the evenings, I found myself initiating interaction with my children (shocking, I know). One evening, after dinner at my in-laws, Ellie and Jack ran outside and I found myself following them to watch the bike riding and roller skating and cheerful chatter instead of my usual lingering at the dinner table among the adults and blessed adult conversation. Bedtime tucking-in this month has inspired longer conversations and extra hugs. Our weekday routine of Ten-Minutes-With-Mom after school has been reinstated after fading away last spring.
September is also good because actually, it’s still summer for about 70% of it! So, bedtime reading may take place at the river, summer squash and green beans straight from the vine grace the dinner table, and we can sneak in a couple camping trips before the month ends.
September has turned out to be full of goodness – hot, sunny days, reading in hammocks, adorable kindergartners who need speech therapy, and a cookout at the river with friends.
October may not be so bad either: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee. Amen.