Leaves of Memories

Well that autumnal feeling is upon me and it feels good. That is the direct opposite of how I felt as August days dwindled down at the end of summer. When the kids are little moms say, “They’re ready for school to start.” What we mean is “I am ready for school to start.” We want our house back our kitchen clean and the floor clear of wet swimsuits and other summer debris. After camps and rec. department activities end, the days become long aimless periods between dark evenings notable only for how bad the bugs are biting.
But somewhere between a new driver’s license and the ability to get themselves to their own tennis lesson or friend’s home, a change happens. They begin leaving “childhood” behind, and the status quo alters. At first imperceptibly, she babysits, instead of needing a sitter. Or you notice that the Fourth of July is not quite as exciting as Christmas Eve to him anymore.

When they were little we planned all types of activities to keep summer boredom at bay and yes to create summer memories too. One summer the three of us had our own book club. Something of a feat considering the 6 year difference in their ages,but fun none the less. My daughter and I would make “real” lemonade from scratch at least once each summer and were constantly on the look-out for new recipes for the summer classic. That’s not even counting “backwards day” or lunch-time bike-ride picnics. And as an official graduate of “Mean-mom School” I told my kids they were not even allowed to say they were bored or had nothing to do until at least the middle of July.

But last year my daughter and her best friend went and bought their school supplies without me. (I wonder if the other Mom missed this too.)And this year for the first time since she was three the lemons went unsqueezed in the fridge.

This is the last summer when “school” means the red brick building in our town, and I’m not liking it.

So her father and I were feeling sad with the wind down. Not at all happy about the passage of time. And then we both remembered our own junior summer. How excited we were to be seniors. How the school seemed like our own little kingdom and how everything seemed just ready to pop with excitement and fun, in spite of papers, tests and projects. If our own parents were sad about only one more summer until we left for college we surely didn’t notice.

And so I decided to put the the mopes away.The fall of my senior year was crisp and colorful. And cool sunny Fridays still cause me to remember the feel of my cheerleader’s sweater. I wasn’t sad to leave summer behind to the extent that I could not enjoy Fall and neither is my daughter. The backpack is new, the pencils are sharpened and its another school year to learn and grow. The glass is full, the path is waiting, “mean moms” not withstanding. It’s another beginning, and it will bring it’s own “firsts” and memories to fore. So she’ll enjoy this time and I’ll enjoy watching her enjoy it.And in the end that maybe the best part of parenting, even for a “mean-mom graduate.” I’m just say’n.

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