Everywhere I look, I am seeing the words “end of summer” and it is making me mad.
Summer doesn’t officially end until September 23rd but here we are talking about how summer is ending because the kids are going back to school.
I hate this time of year.
Hated it when I was in school and had severe school-anxiety. Hated it when I worked retail and back to school meant crowds, messy fitting rooms, and snippy customers. Hated it when my kids were of school age and it meant lazy summer days were over.
I love routine and organization but there is something about the cadence of summer that jives with me more than any other season.
Anna going back to college wasn’t as hard this year because it was familiar; we’ve done this before and I know she will be fine, but nonetheless, it is hard on all of us including her. I not only love my teen, I really like her too and her presence is sorely missed after she goes back. Her energy is also so very missed in our home and we all go through a little mourning period after she goes back to school each time.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to go through this and that we need to give ourselves time to “mourn” her energy being out of the house, which is a big reason why we aren’t beginning homeschool until the day after Labor Day.
It’s weird this year because Ella isn’t really “going back” but rather “continuing” homeschool. It makes me feel a little sadness when I realize that this time next week, she won’t have her friends at home during the day. She’s been socially busier this summer more than ever before, seeing her friends almost every day of the week and we will both miss that hustle and bustle.
And honestly, I don’t love homeschooling. Many reasons, the least of which is Ella herself, but I am not thrilled to begin again and I don’t suppose she is either.
I mean, there are positives to homeschooling: for the first time in seven years, we don’t have to do back-to-school clothing shopping but rather just buy clothing as she needs it. We don’t need to buy school supplies either. I was at Target the other day watching moms and dads, sons and daughters holding pieces of paper directed by their respective schools telling them to bring Ziploc bags of a certain size or wide-ruled paper or Clorox wipes.
That honestly felt a bit freeing although I am having to wade through the curriculum for the year and figure out whether to teach Spanish or Korean, finding the right Math curriculum so that I won’t pull my hair out, paying for actual books and computer programs rather than buying rulers or markers. Figuring out which co-op she should join or what out-of-home classes she wants to participate in.
First world homeschool problems, I suppose.
I told Anna that before she was in school and when she was my only child, summer stretched allllllll the way until it didn’t anymore. Pool and beach days almost collided with crushing leaves under our feet and heading to the pumpkin patch. There wasn’t this huge line of demarcation but rather a gentle glide into fall. I appreciated seasons so much more before my children became school age.
When school begins in August (and in some cases for a lot of you, EARLY August), our summers get cheated, especially when you live in the Midwest and you most likely lose May because of cold and rain.
And don’t even talk to me about June this year.
But our July and August made up for it because they were full of sun and warmth, beauty and flowers and the bluest skies. I breathed in the warm humid air that I usually seem to bristle at. I marveled (in the moment, even!) at the fact of just throwing on flip flops and heading out, appreciating the lack of preparation to go to the most mundane of places. I noticed the roadside wildflowers so much more, ate lots of fresh vegetables and fruit purchased from farmers, and sat outside every day that I could even if only for 15 minutes at a time, just to soak up that Vitamin D.
It felt like a reward for the winter we had and I appreciated it thoroughly.
Still, it’s not enough.
I miss summer already even before it’s gone.
But it’s not physically gone yet, I remind myself even though mentally we are back in the saddle.
We still have a solid month of calendar-summer left no matter what the weatherman, the school systems, your neighbors and friends say.
And I am going to try so hard to squeeze in every last drop of it.
I hope you will too.