Crisp Around the Edges

Crisp Around the Edges

Summer officially ended and fall, oh fall, is officially here. Our backyard, and our front one for that matter, look a little crisp around the edges.

I pulled all of my marigolds already. They got incredibly large, as usual, but they separated and started dying a little earlier than usual this year. Instead of planting some mums in their place, I feel like I might just buy some potted mums and set them in the middle of my flower garden. I feel like easy fall flowers might be the way to got his year.

Other things seem to be on their way out as well. My husband pulled out the remains of the garden the other evening, only a few still-green tomatoes hanging on to a vine.

Crisp Around the Edges

I feel the tug to turn inward, to ready the house for the coming winter hibernation. I feel crisp and prickly myself. I want to carefully wrap my arms around my boys and pull them close, tuck them under my protective wing to hide them from the coming cold winds, the snow, the things winter brings. I want to start making our favorite comfort food meals, to keep us warm both inside and out.

But it’s still 80-some-odd degrees outside.

The kids ditched me after we went over math facts and spelling words, read enough to satisfy this week’s reading log, and talked through a difficult situation at school. I can hear them through my open office window, bouncing on the trampoline with their friends. Soon—too soon—all the children will tuck away inside, under their own mamas’ wings and laughter won’t float by on the breeze. Less knocks on the door, less, “Can they come out to play?”

Our time to hibernate will come. We’ll hunker down together with our board games and movies. For now, I’ll sit here and write or read while they happily play with the neighborhood children. I’ll put on my happy face at flag football practice, even as the sweat drips down my nose. We’ll eat our snack outside tonight, sitting with our toes in the crisp grass, because soon we will be looking out the windows at a whirlwind of white, missing the feel of warmth on our heads, crunchy grass on bare feet.

Parenting School

The Last Weekend of Summer

The Last Weekend of Summer

How did we get here?

Where did the time go?

How is it already the last weekend of summer?

I feel like I just picked the boys up from their last day of school. I blinked and lost months. I went to bed one night in May and woke up one morning in mid-August. Poof. Gone.

Seriously though, we packed so much fun into our summer break. I don’t regret any of the time I spent with my family. And I think the boys feel the same way.

We spent a lot of time together. As a family. We fished. We swam. We beached. We roadtripped. We roller coastered. We movied. We marshmallowed. We chilled. We read. We ice creamed. We star-gazed. And more. All together. And of course, as families do, we also got annoyed and argued and occasionally yelled at one another. But.

It was a good summer.

A great summer, even.

Now, with one weekend between us and a new year of schooling, we have some more time together to spend. There will be some camping and fishing. Some bike riding. More marshmallows. More stars. More laughter. And yes, more arguing. I’ll snap pictures, as I do. They’ll snap their own pictures, as they do. I figure we’ll even go to the pool on Monday afternoon, soaking up the last weekday of summer fun before we attend the back-to-school Open House that evening. Before we wake on Tuesday morning and begin settling back into our familiar routine.

I’m all for routine. Even our dog likes things to be routine. But this summer of slow-paced, no big deal, let’s run off on an adventure just because we can, sleep in because why not, stay up late because fireflies and stars, well, it felt new and perfect for who and where we were in life this year. It felt right and good.

In time, our school year routine will feel right and good as well, but it will also feel different. For even on those long, long days of summer when the boys argued and pushed all number of buttons, mine included, they were here in this space with me. They were mine, ours. While we feel lucky to send our kids off to spend their daytime hours with great teachers, we lose a lot of time, a lot of togetherness, a lot of so-called power over their days, what they do and hear, who they get to spend time with outside of our neighborhood.

Most of the time, these things turn out just fine. They meet new kids. They make friends. They laugh and learn and come home with stories to tell and happy smiles. And sometimes, like too many times last year, they experience things well beyond what a child should. I’m not looking forward to any issues of bullying or nastiness. I’m not looking forward to new testing now that the PARCC is (thankfully) no longer in Ohio. I’m not looking forward to the pressure placed upon these kiddos, to comfort a little dude who simply takes longer than 20 minutes to eat his lunch.

Of course, I will let them go and learn, both academically and socially. I will support them at home, both with their school work and the questions they bring home about those social struggles. We will help them make sense of whatever they need at the time. I’ll miss the complete flexibility of schedule, the ability to dart off to wherever we want whenever we want, but I’ll just work a little more diligently to plan some fun into the time we do have together.

But yes, I’m already looking forward to the first day of summer break on this last weekend of summer.