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I feel a shift, slight, like tectonic plates slowly rearranging the world. Every August an unseasonably cold morning shakes me out of my summer haze. A chill runs through the air like an unstoppable current, a wispy finger beckoning me closer and closer to the end of a season.

“It’s the summer of change,” my friend said back in May, and I knew what she meant. This summer is different.

This is the summer, my baby is no longer a baby. He just turned five, a milestone birthday that signals the end of toddlerhood. The years that seemed like forever when I was in them now seem like an all-too-fast blur of giggles, diapers, pacifiers, crying, laughing, I don’t wannas, I love yous, hugs, and kisses. I squeeze every last drop out of those hugs and kisses knowing that in just a few short years my baby will be too cool for mom. This precious moment in time is slowly slipping into a memory. My throat catches when I realize the only tangible reminders of these years will be carefully curated photo albums, baby books, and handprint artwork.

And at the same time, I’m excited for him. Each day I catch glimpses of the person he’s growing into, and it’s a privilege to watch. Whether he’s jamming on his new guitar, playing fetch with our dog, or trying to make me laugh by wearing underpants on his head (this bit is called “Mr. Underpants”), I marvel at the fact that I genuinely love spending time with my son. He’s more fun than most adults I know.

I’m also excited for me. When my son was born I chose to stay home, a choice I would choose again and again. But with that choice came a temporary hold on career goals and hobbies and the passions that defined me. Now that he’s getting closer to kindergarten, I’m considering rejoining the workforce and reclaiming a part of myself that I’ve kept locked up in favor of nap schedules and playdates. This mash-up of my career-driven former self and my current legging-loving mom self is someone I can’t wait to discover.

So for any mom experiencing a summer shift, whether it’s having a new baby, watching a toddler morph into a child, saying goodbye at college drop off, or starting a new job, embrace the change. We only get to do this thing once. Although it may be bittersweet, and there may be some tears, know that at the end of every summer, a new season is just around the corner.

Jennie Wexler

Jennie Wexler is a stay-at-home mom and writer living in New Jersey with her husband, son, and crazy Havanese puppy. Her personal essays have appeared on sites like Kveller.com and Mother.ly.

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