notes on (almost) the end of summer


So it’s almost the end of summer. Not meteorological summer — not yet — though the mornings are not bright as early as they were a few weeks ago, and nights are growing dim rather quickly. But the end of summer, as in the weeks that my big kid is not in school. Though only 1/4 of our household is actually on the school calendar these days, it still sort of keeps time around here. A familiar rhythm.

Summer ends, and then “we” go back to school.

Soon. But not quite yet.

There are still a few more days of left of what has been a nice season. We did not take any family vacations, nor did we do everything on the “summer list” I made back in May. But we swam and played and read books on a blanket in the grass and ate rather a lot of ice cream, there were camps and soccer games and picnics, and we even had some time for doing not much of anything at all. Sometimes it was very quiet. Occasionally even a little boring. My children perfected their ability to drive each other crazy. I learned that driving each other crazy is their favorite thing to do when bored. They like that more than playing with Legos.

But soon we’ll be back to school, and there will be a little less time to be bored. Soon. But not quite yet. First: a few more nights at the park, like last night, swimming (while the pool is still full) and running around on the lush grass. Last night, we played even as it started to rain. Saw neighbors and friends. Collected new mosquito bites. Came home at dusk, which is now around bedtime. This makes parenting easier. This is not a bad thing.

We will have to go to bed a little earlier when we go back to school, soon — but first: We’ll go to the fair. Maybe squeeze in a day trip somewhere. Host the grandparents visiting from far away. Get to stay up late while they are around. These last days of summer will be full and last long.

And then all of a sudden it will be time to pack up the backpack and head back to school. But first: the big one needs new shoes. His feet spent the whole summer growing. They are giant feet now. I haven’t asked him yet to try on last spring’s pants; I already know what will happen. We’ll buy his new pants later in the season in case he gets even taller before it gets cold. For now I leave them on the shelf and he wears shorts.

He’ll wear shorts and new shoes on the first day of school — but first: this morning. Today, we don’t have anywhere we have to go. The kids are watching cartoons far longer than I probably should allow. Otherwise, the house is quiet. The windows are open, the air is warm and humid and full of August. I’m on my second cup of coffee and there’s a good chance there will be a third. The flowers from this past weekend’s farmer’s market are starting to droop. I’ll press a couple of them into my journal to mark the end of the season, but not yet. For now they are still in the vase; from across the room, they still look ok. My son and I mean to finish book four of Harry Potter by the time school starts. We aren’t even half way through, but there are still a few days to go. It’s almost the end of summer, but not yet.