At the end of every summer, I'm always a little sad. In my youth, the end signaled the beginning of school again. After college, when I was working as a sports journalist, the end meant the beginning of football season, which was always an exciting transition but also a return to a crazy busy seven months of the newspaper business (summer is always the mellowest time of year for sports desks). After I had kids and they started school, the end of summer meant a slowing down of any adventures and vacations and the return to a routine, with the inevitable cooling and short days just around the corner.
I go through these cycles always looking forward to the next summer, inexorably setting myself up for everything going too quickly. I have a fifth- and a third-grader now, and I'm still trying to understand how that happened.
Something was different this year throughout August. Not resignation that summer was ending and went by in a heartbeat. Not melancholy that my favorite season was ending and before I know it, I'll be shoveling snow again. Not even missing the boys every day, which I do. No, this August, the end of summer was a little bit of a relief.
The last month, since we returned from vacation, has been a jumbled mess. Yes, we had fun, but we still never seemed to do the things I hoped before summer ended. The weather has been schizophrenic, with so many days when the skies couldn't decide between sunny and rainy. And, I've had so much work but never seemed to figure out how to peacefully get it all done. I managed, but it's been a slog.
Thus, I'm happy the boys are back in school. The routine hasn't settled in yet -- I caught a back-to-school cold that has slowed me down a little. But today, on this last day of summer, I felt non-rushed for the first time in a while. I got work done, took Michael to basketball, took the dog on a long walk, and found time to type.
I feel a little guilty about wanting the boys back in school. Next summer, hopefully the last month of summer will be different. But for now, I'm glad it's September.
So what have we done the past 17 days? We hit the waterpark a few times. The boys returned to school last week and are enjoying their new classrooms. I've already co-oped both kids twice. I'm coaching Ben's soccer team again; our first game is Saturday. Both kids got to hang out with friends in the last playdates of summer.
And now I'm calling it: Autumn is here. This summer was fun. But it zipped by too fast. They always do.