There is a chill in the air.
The sun is setting earlier, rising later. The long sunny afternoons have slipped away. Two months of school have whizzed clear past us and we are knee-deep in commitments for the children. We have traded the ever-growing pile of wet towels, flip-flops and popsicles for lunch boxes, permission forms, and early bedtimes. It might snow tomorrow and I am sure that only 50% of the children have boots.
I blinked and summer was over. We filled our weekends with family time, logged endless hours at the pool. The girls finally (finally!) turned into little fish. We’re still holding on to some hesitation but if I had a dollar for every cannonball and star jump launched off the edge of the pool deck, I would be a rich woman. My favorite moments have been splashing with them, lost in their hysterical smiles.
The past few weeks, our temperatures have teetered on the edge of warmth and I have been clutching to end of summer. I have fooled myself into thinking that I can hold the remnants of the season together. Every week I keep thinking that the butter and sugar corn will be over at the farm stand, that the tomatoes will be finished. And yet most of October, it still felt like August. Tonight, though, says the woman at the counter, everything will freeze.
This year hits harder than most others.
It was a summer of transitions: I left my first non-academic job and started a new job at the end of the summer. We prepped our youngest for the start of kindergarten. Those were the tangible changes.
More difficult to pinpoint, though, were the intangible changes. The subtle shifts in our family life. Our girls are becoming more independent–life is getting slightly easier moving through the world as a family of four. We can all buckle ourselves into our seats in the car, there is no stroller to speak of, and my purse is finally my own domain. No more little babies in this house.
The intangible changes were easiest to see when we visited our favorite place–the elbow of Cape Cod. I snapped dozens of photos over girls’ shoulders, wandering through town, watching the fish come off the boats at the fish pier, staring at the full moon. The girls weren’t perfect angels–we bickered and argued plenty. But we also ate ice cream and candy and pie from Marion’s and quite possibly the best breakfast I’ve ever had. There were no naps or diapers or extra clothes to pack. And most moments of the trip, we felt like a team. Our oldest even dubbed us, “the fantastic four.”
These little slivers of family life, the impossibly, amazing sunny smiley faces are now kvetching about wearing a long sleeves. At night they’re snuggled deeply under their covers in footy pajamas. They’re knee-deep in their gymnastic lessons and their library books and being crazy, little girls. It is almost like the summer never happened now that we’re swept up in the rhythm of the school year.
I suppose that’s how it goes. I’d like to cling to summer just like I’d like to cling to last year and the year before that and the year before that because with every passing minute they are morphing from little to big.
But I can’t. So I won’t.