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The First and Last Summer

Posted by Jen on August 25, 2010 at 7:03 AM in Summer Fun
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We are still deeply in the throes of summer at our house, so it's hard for me to fathom that in less than one short week both Madeleine and Carter will be back in school every day, getting back to our fall routine.

This summer was a sweet one in our house. It was the first year we made a serious commitment to vacation, camp and childcare and wow! what a difference that made. I was no longer the crazed, stressed out work-at-home mother who can't get any work done. They were no longer the whining, frustrated, neglected children who can't figure out how to have fun. This simple structure--a regular morning babysitter, somewhat normal work hours for me and plans to look forward to on the calendar--worked magic for all of us. I had to make a big trip mid-summer for my work, but they had a fun beach week with dad and some fun daily outings with me when I got back. I think everyone got what they needed.

This summer also marks some significant passages. Madeleine is on her way to middle school this fall. She spent far less time with her dolls this summer and much more with her nail polish and music. Carter is no longer my sweet baby faced boy. Yesterday I discovered a pre-adolescent pimple on his face. I suspect I'll be chasing him into the shower nightly soon in hopes of fending off that sweaty big boy odor that is right around the corner. My kids are growing up fast; neither one looks like a little kid in the pictures anymore.

I've never been one to mourn my children growing older. I'm hopeful for the changes in their lives. I'm excited for their futures and eager to see who they will become and what choices they will make as their paths unfold. But this week, I have to say, I'm looking at them both and feeling a bit wistful. I have loved being the mother of little children, and I'll miss the days when they were less independent and more full of wonder for the newness of the world.

How about you? What stages are passing for your kids along with the end of summer? What's there to cherish in these days that is sure to be a distant memory when fall leaves come along?


Lisa writes...

My children are entering second grade, kindergarten, and preschool. I potty-trained my baby this summer. I really feel that motion towards "big kid land" and away from "toddler land". So, I'm wistful about the changing cuteness of my kids, but I'm really excited about the way the world is opening up for them.

We've got just three more days before lunch boxes and school busses. We've really loved our home this summer, I would say, the way an adult loves a really comfortable bed or a child loves a fantastic tree house. The leisurely schedule we enjoyed this summer created that opportunity. I'm hoping to maintain a bit of that essence during the school year by not scheduling organized kid activities like dance or sports on the weekends. The weekends will be our time to leisurely relish our home, our neighborhood, and our family.

Amber writes...

My own big girl is starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks. That feels like a HUGE passage to me. And my wee boy just turned 2 - no more babies here. Right now, there are a lot of transitions. It makes me feel very wistful, I must say.

~Monica writes...

I really cannot believe how grown up your kids look right now - wow - they are so beautiful too!!!

My son lost his first 2 teeth this Summer and he is just 5! He begins Kindergarten this September as well.

We are cherishing the final days of warm sunshine in our neck of the woods (West Coast of Canada), doing crafts outside in the backyard, watching the dragonflies and butterflies float through our gardens. We still have fruit and corn to harvest from our backyard and then once it turns cold, our massive pumpkin should be ready for October fun : ) This was our first year growing a lot of our own food through the Summer - I'm going to be sad once everything has completed its cycle. *sigh*

Renee writes...

My daughter will be 10 in a few months. She's in a school with multi-age classrooms, and this year she's one of the "third years". I love seeing how proud she is to help the first-years figure out how things work. She couldn't wait to get back to school, and I'm always grateful that her school makes her feel that way.

Personally, I love being her mom more and more as she gets older. I think she's a fabulous person.

Shelley writes...

This has been a tough summer for me. My oldest is a senior and this is officially his last year before turning into an adult. It is hard to believe.
At the end of this school year ,I will have one graduating high school, one graduating middle school, and one graduating Kindergarten.
On the other hand of being sad that my oldest will soon be on his own, I feel blessed beyond measure.
God gave us an unexpected pregnancy and we had our princess after having 2 boys. I still have plenty of "raising years" ahead of me.
The hardest thing for me is that because he is 17 I want to spend this last year with him as much as possible but he is always out with his friends. Now I know how my mom and dad felt. Maybe I should have spent more time with him when he was 15 and 16. But I can't change the past and so I look to the future and am excited about the man he will become. He is an amazing musician and I can't wait to see what is in store for him.

Becky writes...

My oldest also entered middle school - a transistion I wasn't sure I could handle. Thankfully, he loves it and didn't automatically overnight turn into a teenager that hated his family (I had all kinds of terrible visions in my head). In summers past, we have always had lots of time together and adventures. I was deeply saddened this summer came and went without that usual close bond (my dad was ill and we had to move him out of his house of 50 much work involved)...which made me worry that maybe next year, my middle schooler wouldn't want family time at all. That maybe I missed my last chance where he loved doing silly odd things. So I am feeling the anxiety of what middle school will bring but I am also realizing subtle differences in him growing up and how we are enjoying some one-on-one time together. So maybe change isn't always scary - I look forward to a new type of relationship with him now. But next summer, I think a long road trip is in order. I loved your ideas from this summer - so glad they worked out so well and you guys enjoyed it!

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