It’s been a long time since my last post. I don’t know where the time has gone. I am in the last few days of summer mode. O returned to high school two weeks ago. N and E start 7th grade in two more days. D will begin 1st grade in a two more weeks. I feel like I am clinging onto summertime with a faltering grasp. I feel like it is the calm before the storm. With summer’s end, fall rushes in, and with it the hectic pace that a new school year brings.
When summer began, I had all these great plans to accomplish Projects. Stuff like cleaning out closets, organizing photographs, planting a vegetable garden. Tasks that I want to take care of throughout the year, but somehow between carpooling, parent meetings, homework and after school events, I can never accomplish. I thought, with the kids being out of school, I can really tackle these Projects. Instead, when the kids downshifted out of school, I did too. So my Projects took a backseat to summer life. I actually exercised regularly, sipped cocktails on the patio, dined al fresco, and relaxed!
So, instead of cleaning closets, I purged a few outgrown items to make room for the newly purchased school uniforms. Organizing photos meant uploading the photos taken this summer onto a shared website so my family could enjoy them, and my vegetable garden turned into a couple of tomato plants and herbs. I guess I really didn’t accomplish my entire list of Projects. I was feeling a bit anxious about that. You know that feeling that one gets on Sunday evening, when you realize you only have a few hours left to finish the laundry, grocery shopping and errands, before the work week starts all over again? But mixed in with that anxiousness is a kind melancholy. N had the melancholy too. About 3 weeks ago he breathed a heavy sigh and said, “I feel like time is passing too fast. Summer is going by too soon.” I know what he means. Summer, youth, it all passes too fast. The months of August and September are such a reminder of that to me.
In late August we celebrated D’s 6th birthday. He was SO EXCITED. The morning of his birthday he woke up and said, “Did I grow?” Our nanny arrived that morning and said, let me take a look at you? Yup, you look like a 6 year-old!” D beamed with pride! He proudly proclaimed that he would lose some teeth that day. Somehow he had it in his head that on his birthday he would lose his baby teeth. Perhaps it was because we told him that he would probably start losing his baby teeth when he turned 6! In these last few days of August, D does look like he’s grown. He climbed into my bed the other night. Something he hasn’t done in a long time. When I woke up the next morning I saw him all stretched out between J and I. D looked so long, all the “baby” gone from his face. That moment was a reminder of how fast the seasons pass.
In just two days N will have a birthday too. He will be 12. I look at N and I see him fighting to hang on to childhood. On D’s birthday, N gave him an old favorite toy that N had outgrown. D was thrilled. That morning, N and D played with the toy all morning. I think N gave D the toy so he could justify having the toy around for a few more years. I am so thankful that N is enjoying, prolonging his childhood. During our family vacation to Montana, N had a great time playing with his younger cousins. Hide and seek. Legos. When it came time for N to choose a souvenir from a gift shop, he deliberated between buying a decorative wood plague for his room, or something more fun. The choice was easy when he happened upon the coon skin cap. Childhood won out. The cap has been a great prop, and has become a favorite addition in N’s neighborhood Nerf gun wars. Still, N could not help but be disappointed during our vacation, when N realized he was not quite tall enough to ride the motorcycle that E, his 8 month older sister could ride. Maybe next summer…the summer he turns 13!
Nine days after N turns 12, O will turn 15! Quincenera. In many latino families, this is a significant birthday. It marks a girls’ passage to maturity, to womanhood. It is celebrated with a mass, a party, a waltz. We are not celebrating like that. Still, it is another milestone. O looks mature beyond her years. She is anxious to become a young woman. She is anxious to be free from her parents’ control. This summer we gave her more freedoms than she has ever had. Trips to the mall without a parent. Rides on public transportation to see friends in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Dates with boys. Unchaperoned. Unaccompanied by her friends, even. Some of these liberties were bestowed by me, under protest, and with great concern. However, I am still the step-parent, so I don’t have any veto power. I am reminded that it is better that she learn to take care of herself, while she is still under our watch, before she goes off to college, in three short years. Two more summer vacations and she is gone.
This is a long post. It is longer than I intended. I thought I would keep it light, and post about our long, lazy summer days. But, maybe this post is just what I needed. Sure, I didn’t get complete my Projects, and I am feeling that melancholy that comes with summer’s end, followed by the anxiousness that creeps in when I realize we are about to embark on another busy school year. However, looking back on this season, I am reminded about the memories I have made, and how much I have enjoyed this time with my family. So even though, I have boxes of photos to organize, and closets to purge, it’s okay. That’s what the cooler days of Autumn are for. The longer, warmer days of summer are winding down, and I will enjoy them with a few more dinners on the patio, neighborhood walks, and perhaps a bike ride with the kids to the new yogurt store that opened up down the street.