They are three words that have never brought me joy. I loved summer as a kid and I love it as a grown-up, or what passes for one in my house anyway, just as much. I know September is a pretty month. Many people think of it as their favorite. Not me. I never wanted to have to start getting up earlier, or go to bed earlier either. I loved staying up long after my mom had gone to bed and reading deep into the night. It was a special pleasure held aside only for June July and August. I loved the empty afternoon hours. They were perfect for decorating a poster board house, or building rock castles in the backyard. These were not worthy projects like the ones saved for winter where you made baskets for the poor kids, or homemade stockings for the old folks at the nursing home. Nope, these were simply fun and a little bit aimless and perfect for the hottest part of the day.
Then I grew up and learned about late night bonfires and unending teenage hours with trashy magazines and shiny purple nail polish. I learned about barefoot walks through piney woods to rivers so cold they make your hair hurt. I found out about ice cream suppers, and long hot days in flimsy nightgowns or boxers and unending hours of Jaws and Jurassic Park shown in the darkest coolest part of the house with big bowls of watermelon and pimento cheese sandwiches. What had happened was that I’d had kids and got even better kid centered summers than I’d had the first time around.
So I am not one of those moms that looks forward to setting the alarm, early breakfasts, soccer practice, and backpacks with lists of things to fill up a perfectly good evening with someone elses idea of ‘good for you’ activity. Maybe I am just bad at transitions, but back to school has never sounded too good to me. And please don’t misunderstand. I loved school. I was good at it and nothing pleased me more than those clean empty notebooks, fresh paper, and piles of pens and pencils promising big new thoughts, and lots of new good books. I mean I can get into the swing of the thing as much as the next girl, it’s just those first few days always make me a little sad. I don’t get the parents who exhale and slide right into the new routines.
It happened again here on Tuesday. We are transitioning this year in several ways. First of course like everyone we are trying to get into a new routine, bed earlier, up the same. Breakfast before you are good and hungry and homework fitted in and around supper, soccer, and a little porch time with each other. But this year Eli is leaving five years of homeschooling behind and going to a smart little independent mountain school with a college prep high school and a sweet little middle school built in. He wanted a bigger social arena and now he has it. Hannah is a sophomore at Mt Holyoke; her daddy moved her in on Wednesday. Classes started Thursday and she’d skipped the moving in festivities earlier in the week. “Daddy will you make some more ice cream?” ” Mommy wanna have a jammy day?” Her big brother Benjamin has just one semester of college to go. He is actually using the word graduation in a sentence. It might really happen. Talk about transitions. He asked me today if I knew what was worse than an old tired jaded teacher one year from retirement. He had that guy last semester. Now he thinks that new,fresh eyed and filled with ideas and important policies and rules is considerably worse. Eli could barely speak tonight. He is tired down to his toes. Yesterday they went on a camping trip, a bonding experience in nature. But first he had soccer practice and a quiz on one of the summer reads. He is in algebra two. There is a quiz on Monday. “What’s algebra again?” We had a quiet supper. Maybe he’ll just have a bath.
Me, I cannot believe it’s September. I want a do over….