I love fall: autumn leaves, warm sweaters, apple picking, football, pumpkin everything, the coziness leading up to the holidays… But this year, as summer melts away, I’m struck with a greater sadness than in years past.
First of all, I don’t believe summer should end until after Labor Day. I hate that some schools start at the end of August, thereby cutting short the natural end of the season. It’s weird to me to start school, then have one long last weekend at the shore. It’s like when it’s 60 degrees in January — it just feels wrong. So seeing all the back-to-school pictures on Facebook is making me say, “Hold on! It’s not over yet!”
But, LM isn’t in school, so this shouldn’t really apply to us. So what’s really making me depressed? I think it’s because this summer was, in many ways, even better than last. Last summer LM couldn’t walk. He liked the beach, but I didn’t get to watch him run toward the waves with reckless abandon. I didn’t get to stroll along the shore hand-in-hand. He can now dig with his shovel and dump buckets of water in the hole (and over himself). He knows a little bit about swimming, so he can scoop-and-kick his way around the pool in my arms — and even jump in.
We made so many great memories this summer. I am so glad we spent time with our family in Long Beach Island, Smith Mountain Lake and Myrtle Beach. We had great days at water parks and pools with friends. We spent lots of time on our back deck as LM splashed in his baby pool. By turning from a little baby into a little boy, I can see his personality coming through. I can see him learning and growing so much. It really is amazing to watch.
Older parents with grown children will often say to me, “This is a fun age” — but they say it at every stage, no matter how old LM is. I suppose that’s because each part of your child’s life brings its own special brand of fun. Babies are cute and snuggly, and I miss that; but little kids have so much energy and spirit. It makes it even more enjoyable for me as a parent to interact with him. I know as he grows each subsequent summer will be filled with additional joys — when we can go bike riding or kayaking together; when we can dig for clams; when we can roast marshmallows over a campfire — but since I’m a person who often looks back when I should be looking forward, I still mourn the season that’s past.
I should be anticipating our fall activities with joy, and I am. But there is that bittersweet farewell to the magic of summer: long days and lingering twilight, the sound of kids’ laughter and crashing waves while walking along the beach, the permission you give yourself (and your child) to relax, take things slow, and enjoy life. The fall often feels like a return to the real world. I welcome it, but I miss what’s gone by as well.
Will you miss summer or are you ready for it to end? Soak up all that’s left and have a great Labor Day weekend!