The light of the day is already starting to grow shorter. The shadows are lengthening, the evenings are cooler. Summer is fading and back-to-school signs have begun to fill the aisles at the store. It’s time to think about returning to schedules, early mornings, and busy days. Every age is different, but always I am struck with the brevity of our time, the quickening of the years. I’m not ready to say goodbye to our lazy mornings, where we sit in the old rockers on the back deck, little hands grip a mug of cocoa while I wake in the steam of a hot cup of coffee. Their legs drape over the arm of the chair and suddenly rivalry and angst are quieted while we share our hopes and dreams. In this quiet start of the day, the shortness of youth is a painful sting. These are the moments that fill my mother heart, the luxury of space to daydream, to connect, to be together.
I try not to look at the tower of binders, backpacks, and pens at the grocery store. I push my cart quickly past. Already the emails from the school sharing supply lists, remind me I need to start shopping. I know we should go to bed earlier and prepare for the schedules that will dictate most of our days this year. I’m just not ready. I want to stay up too late while we watch old movies under the blanket fort that’s been holding court in our living room for too many days. The lazy testament to a lack of expectation in our summer routine.
The hot months are the essence of connection, the pursuit of fun, the whimsy of sleeping in, and dance parties in the kitchen. It is walking to the park early in the morning to beat the heat. The times we have stayed at the lake until the sun slinks below the mountains and we trudge back to the car weary and happy. It is the filling up of hearts that miss out on necessary connection when we are controlled by our commitments and not our need to cuddle and read together at two in the afternoon.
I already know that the moment autumn hits, I’ll be ready to wake with my kids and I’ll thrill in the magic of the leaves falling and their expected agenda. I’m still just clinging to these last days of summer. I want to cram in all of the wonder and drink up the last dregs of joyful goodness until I’m flooded with the sensations of baby arms holding around my neck, head resting on my shoulder, children who still need and enjoy all of their time with me.
Life changes when they go to school. They shirk my kisses, run without looking back to catch up with their friends. They grow up. Their hearts create distance. It’s important and necessary to facilitate this separation, they don’t belong to me. My job is to help them become the amazing, independent and strong people that I believe them to be.
When they were tiny, I was overwhelmed by their needs, the expectation upon me to do it all. Now they have become my best partners. My favorite people to scheme with. They love to talk about their dreams and they share their hopes to train dolphins, live in the Outback, or maybe just work at a smoothie bar where all the drinks will be free. They’re getting older. The marks in my closet evidence of their recent growth spurts. These are the seasons of life that I’m clinging to, the remembrances of which will comfort me as I age. The memory of long days, quiet nights. When the only thing we had to do was imagine tomorrow, while enjoying the rest that filled today.