I love the hot, sunny, carefree days of summer, where your biggest decision is whether to go to the beach or the pool, or what friends to invite over for an impromptu barbecue. I love the extra time with the children, reconnecting, enjoying each other, watching them grow and change with each new experience - day camp, swimming lessons, the first-time in a wedding, blowing bubbles underwater, learning to play baseball... Summer to me is a magical time full of sunshine and smiles and promise. I love that feeling of having months of beautiful weather ahead of me, just waiting to be enjoyed. If anything, we're even busier in the summer than we are in the winter, but it's a good busy, full of things we've chosen, not full of obligations and rules.
As the days and weeks pass all too quickly, July turns into August, and then August draws to a close, and with it those same carefree days. It's time to return to the faster-paced, more hectic rhythms of fall and winter. Each year I find this mental shift difficult, I feel myself wanting to cling to those last remnants of summer.
This year though will be different. There are big changes underway around the island. Tomorrow morning my son will set off, backpack in hand (or rather "on wheels"), school shirt on, for the first day of first grade. The first time he will leave the warm shelter of his small free-standing kindergarten for the hustle and bustle of elementary school, with its hallways and big kids and recess and dress code. With its notebooks and workbooks and bookbags. With the lunch he now has to take for the first time (breakfast actually, they eat at 10). A true new beginning.
My younger child, my daughter, will be beginning her final year of preschool. Her last year before being thrown into the chaos of the public school system. (The last time we will get a letter a mere 3 days before the start of the term mentioning that "by the way", the rates have been increased, please make your checks out accordingly.) Social interaction does not come easily to Maya right now, and we are counting on this last year of cocooning to help build her confidence and give her the tools she will need to function and thrive in a kindergarten class of 36 children.
So many changes underway. So many reasons to want to slow down time, to stop and reflect, to stop and rewind. And at the same time so many new opportunities, new chances to grow and learn. New skills, new friends, a roller-hockey team to join, gymnastics to try...
It would be very easy to focus on "the end" today, but I am not going to (at least not much, I do still need to cry the requisite tears at school tomorrow morning after all). Instead I am going to focus on enjoying my memories of this special time while at the same time looking firmly forward to "the next" and welcoming it in.
More endings can be found here.