It’s August 31st and I’m absolutely thrilled – sort of. It’s a full moon (not that really has anything to do with anything), the cool, crisp mornings are making my early morning walks that much more brisk, and the shadows are changing daily with every hour.
I have been waiting for this moment for the last two months, and it’s finally here. But in end, I really don’t want summer to end.
Although summer is technically not over until sometime mid-September, I consider the hot season over as soon at the calendar changes and the kids go back to school. People scoff at the sight of school supplies, Halloween paraphernalia and Christmas wrap showing up in stores near the beginning of August, whereas I jump for joy at the signs of what is right around the corner.
Summer is not my favourite time of year, as you have guessed. There is no escaping the hot, dry, constant heat that practically chokes me to death. My pores go into overdrive, gasping for air, and my face is constantly one big oil slick. I have sweat in places we won’t mention; deodorant is pointless.
Just as the grass and trees gasp for water, I long for a rain. As a west coast girl born in autumn, rain is in my blood. The rainless summer has me missing the green of grass and trees, even though the leaves fall all too quick. Their changing colours take my breath away – but it’s not the same as the gasping for air in the heat.
I love dark mornings, and even darker evenings. Give me flannels, boots and scarves, and I’m happy. Cozy up after dinner with a blanket, candles on, and a good book (or night time sitcom) and I’m happy. Who needs sitting outside with the mosquitoes sticking to the sunscreen on your neck?
Yet despite my counting down the days to fall, I have learned not to wish it away, and I try to keep my boys busy and active in the summer, fostering memories for all. They are growing too fast, and time races by just as a fast as the seasons. One day I won’t have them to flip over rocks on the beach looking for crabs, nor will I have broken water balloons to clean up outside. I keep them stocked with freezies and ice cream, and 7-Eleven is their second home. I need to open a savings account to save for Slurpee money next year.
But then, as every year, it ends all too fast, the flipping pages on the calendar a blur. One minute I am bemoaning the end of school - our routine, broken - but deep down know that another grade, another chapter of their lives, is over. Then I am torn between rejoicing that it’s back to school – back to a routine - and being sad that yet another school grade has crept up.
Despite me longing for summer to be over, time speeding by has taught me to be careful what to wish for.
As I think about their first few days back to school, and wonder if they will have to do the traditional ‘What I did during the summer’ essay, which inevitably I will have to help them with, I run through my mind all that we have done these last two months. Kids sometimes have short, selective memories, the question of ‘what did you do this summer’ often met with a shrug, downcast eyes, and a mumbled ‘Nothin’.’
I recounted all that we did (for the essay I will likely have to write). Hikes in the woods near and far, swimming in secret lakes near and far, travelling far to camp near a lake, and travelling near to camp near a beach – I realize we did a lot, heat be damned. Slurpees, fishing, movies, and just hangin’ out - we had a great time.
And that’s just it – time.
Soon I won’t be able to do all those things with them, not because of the weather and seasons changing, but because with every season they get older and farther away from the nest. I am aware of time passing all too quickly – just as summer slipped by before I could wish it away. One day I won’t have my young kids with me to flip rocks, hike, swim, or ply with Slurpees. Autumn will always return; their youthful days of hanging out with me will not. Deep down, despite my own misgivings, I want summer back – who cares about my pores, sweat and useless deodorant.
And as the full-moon rises on this August 31st, September 1st arriving while I sleep, I won’t make a wish. I have learned to be careful not to wish away something I might truly want. I guess I don’t want summer to end – I want it back.