It’s about this time of year when many parents, like me, start to wonder where the summer has gone.
It seems like school just got out — that I was just emptying out the backpacks last week, sorting through stacks of old notebooks and my kids’ construction paper artwork. It seems like I was just pulling out our swimsuits for our beach trip at the end of May, restocking on sunscreen and pool toys. It feels as though I just washed out the lunchboxes to put them away for a while.
I meant to put together a summertime “bucket list” but never got around to it. We meant to spend more time at the pool, but almost every time we went, it rained. We planned on taking the kids camping for the first time, but again, it rained. We talked about taking a long weekend to visit my in-laws, who live seven hours away. We forgot to pick out dates, and then my in-laws ended up coming to visit us instead.
It seems like we should have more time. But we don’t, even in spite of the best intentions.
Some parents complain that summers have gotten too short. In Georgia, my nieces and nephew started school at the end of July, and we start school this week. Meanwhile, many school systems in the North wait until after Labor Day for school to start, but then they usually don’t let out until mid-June. Many older people wistfully wish for the longer summers like there were in their day, back in the days before schools were air-conditioned and there was a reason for not starting school until September.
I guess there are always trade-offs.
At my house, two new backpacks hang in wait. School supplies have been bought. The kids have gotten their haircuts, and they have picked out new outfits for their first day of school. They’ve been fitted for new shoes. We’ve stocked up on lunch supplies.
The anticipation is mounting. Summer is ending. School will soon begin.
As I tucked my two oldest kids into their beds last week, I asked my them if there was anything left they really wanted to do this summer. My 9-year-old daughter answered, “Go to the Bahamas.” I tried to clarify, asking them if there was anything realistic they hadn’t gotten to do. My son shrugged.
“Not really,” he replied. Then he asked me how many days until the first day of school. When I answered “seven,” I heard an excited “YES!!!” with what I can only imagine to be a fist pump in the air by his big sister, laying in her top bunk above.
“Are you ready?” I asked my son, who is starting a new school this year and will finally be in the same building as his oldest sister.
In the dim hallway light outside their bedroom door, I could see him grin.
“I can’t wait.”
Short or not, summer is over. And I’m glad my kids love school enough that they can’t wait for it to begin.
— Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.