Every year, as another school year ends, my sappy Mom-self finds it harder to handle.
I'm not just referring to the piles of saved reports and awards (times 3, which may or may not become kindling for some backyard bonfires this summer). I'm referring to the realization that my children are moving on (and on).
When the oldest one made that move to Middle School, it felt momentous, it felt exciting. A few years later, when the second one did it, it hit me. "Oh, I see, so they are all going to grow up?!" I stared at my youngest, accusingly. "Guess you'll be next, huh?"
I have found myself awake in the middle of the night, crying. Crying that I don't want my baby to go to college! My husband, who lives in the here and now, as most normal people do, is confused by my recurring nightmare.
Him: "Calm down she's still in High School."
Me: "But she is going to college."
Him: "Yes. In. Three. Years."
Me: "But, still."
This man must forget how fast three years can fly.
Indeed, in three years, she will be the grownup we've raised her to be. But it leaves a mom wanting to cry out, "Wait, I take it back, I didn't really want you to grow up and leave, let's do it all again, please!"
Then we get the gift of summer, which allows us all to pause and do things we've done since they were little. Bike rides in the park, picnic lunches by the pool, reading with flashlights in the backyard tent and cheesy little educational field trips around our town. We've done these things every summer to fill time, and to prevent boredom. As they grow older, I will savor these things as the last of our summers together slip through my clenched fists.
My two youngest will officially no longer to go school together. This past year has been a constant fight between the one who didn't want to be late and the one who didn't want to get out of bed. Now they will each go it alone and we will all miss the morning fights that have become our routine.
Like so many things in life, we forgot to enjoy it while it was here. And now? It's gone.
So, this summer we will take our day trips to the beach, fight over daily chore charts, and hope they rise before 11am. We've got a summer to soak up. And Summer, like a fleeting childhood, will end before we are truly ready.
Shivaun Williams is a Bucks County, PA writer and mom of three. This post is adapted from her blog, Dar Liomsa (In My Opinion).