It is Labor Day. The sky is filled with silver gray clouds and the air hangs heavy, not yet used to the weight of the chill it holds. We are home and safe. My children sit quietly, still tired from another day playing at the lake. Their thoughts vacillating between summer and the upcoming school year.
I am not ready. In two days I will begin wiping sleep instead of sand from tired eyes. I will smile and refuse to cry, as I drop off my twins at their first grade class and leave my oldest with the rest of the fourth grade boys. Until the parking lot, and then all bets are off. I know this. I know what is coming. And I am not ready.
We have had all summer. We have laughed and played. We have sung loudly and off-key. We have danced and painted. We swam and sweat and went through two tanks of propane. We have bowled and mini-golfed, gone to the arcade, local parks, and farmer’s markets. We have experienced the tug-of-war that comes with summer camps and overnights away; the grow up, but don’t grow up, I need you, but I need a little space.
We have spent days on end together. Days where I have watched my children transform and change. And days that seemed like every day was the same. There have been times that I have almost ripped the hairs from my own head in frustration. When I cannot utter the sentences that I think I want to say, because in a little while I know that I will hold you, after this storm of temper has passed, and I don’t want to have regrets. I just need to always be the place you call Safe.
This summer has been the most I have ever been called Mom. Five little voices all rising and falling in syncopated time. Mom, Mommy, Momma, and Ma Ma Mahm- it’s the best thing I’ve ever been called. The greatest compliment I’ve ever been given. And I strive to live up to it. Have strived for the last 10 hot weeks to not take this gift for granted. To be someone worth holding little hearts and guiding imaginations and minds. To not just spend more time cleaning the house, but to be purposeful in my making this our home.
And now it’s time. Another season is quite literally rounding the corner, and I cannot slow its approach. The last sherbet colored tendrils of the summer sky have been neatly tucked into their bed, and I cannot find them, because they, like little ones, need their rest. So it is, with a heavy heart, that I say goodbye to summer, with its days too long and its nights too brief. Goodbye to the places we went, and to those we never got to see. Rest well, my friend, in three seasons more, we will come find you again. Changed, but sure.