Monday, September 6, 2010

Bitter-Sweet September

photo by classendesign on flickr

It is with great sadness that I find myself at the tail-end of the last long weekend of the summer. What a wonderful ride this season has been.

Time is such a hard thing to come by for families and I loved having more of it. Time around the pool, on road trips, on beaches. Time to hear about the year my kids had at school and to take in their perspectives on life. Funny how last summer's life jackets and sandals all of a sudden are too small; as if I blinked and my kids all grew up that much more when I wasn't looking.

Of course, this time also comes with more sibling fighting, more mess, more chaos in the house. Yet, my heart is always heavy that first day back to school - the kids adorned with newly pressed, clean clothes (albeit temporary), backpacks carrying freshly sharpened pencils and blank papers; the tools that will soon spill out sums, essays and secret notes hoping to make their way to friends on the other side of the classroom.

Even though it can be challenging living alongside my kids' antics all day and every day for two full months, the house is eerily quiet after their departure into the new school year. A quiet that sinks into my heart until I get that phone call from my best friend and sister-in-law who knows I need a bit of cheering up every Tuesday after the September long weekend.

As the week rolls on and I find myself revisiting the freedom that school can bring, I ease into my old/new routine and start to value two little words that have erased themselves from my mind over the last 60 days; like chalk being erased from a black board: Alone Time. So even though I start the week off on a lonely note, I know the euphoria of having more choice in my days will come soon thereafter. Such as:

  • Uninterrupted phone calls
  • Last minute bike rides
  • Working and Thinking with no interruptions!!
  • Talking to my husband without censoring our conversations
  • A clean house
  • Less Refereeing
  • A break from daytime drumming and electric guitars

Until the bliss of the above sinks in, I only see the commitment of packed lunches, signing permission slips and having every weeknight filled with the social calendars of five people.

And those backpacks that carry off my children will eventually return home for another summer, ten short months from now. Their owners a little taller, smarter, older. Each of their shiny new pencils will be sharpened down to a stub. And I'll find them at the bottom of each backpack, curiously wondering about all the secrets they were privy to throughout the year.

Yep, summer will come and I'll have the gift of time with each of them again -- as if these warmer months magically enable us to freeze time and pretend that they're not really growing up on us as fast as they really are.

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