Thursday August 29 2013 139 pm
It’s fall. I know, you think it’s summer, but if you have kids, the seasons have changed. A few mornings have already required light jackets over the tank tops. The school bus has picked up the kids (or it’s about to). The small hand of the bedtime clock has been pulled down from its summer creep into bigger numbers, the amount of screen time has been reduced, and the kids are taking both changes hard. In my house, we’ve already experienced our first argument over observing the longstanding rule that after you come home from school, you have a snack and then you do your homework.
How quickly they fall out of practice.
Inevitably, a few unexpected milestones pop up at this time of the year. In the course of the annual (read, tortuous) school shopping, I bought shoes for my son that, for the first time, are bigger than my own. My bathing-averse daughter declared that she intends that this year she will “be a better me,” and thus she plans to be better organized and “take a shower every day. Because I like showers, and I want to be clean.” I’ve begun a new part-time job while keeping pace–at least in theory–with my writing commitments, so I’m undergoing a substantial reorganization of my own.
Spring is supposed to be the season of renewal, but with kids, fall has always held that feeling for me. Sure, the season begins with a small dying as the trees turn color and shed their leaves, but with those leaves one can also sweep away activities and habits that no longer fit. It’s a good time to move on to what’s next, to try on new schedules, outlooks and methods along with the sweaters and boots and tuck only those which hold the most promise into the wardrobe of your life for the next year.
I wouldn’t put it to the kids like that, though. They’ve probably got all the newness they can handle what with covering their new textbooks, making room for the new kid in town (or maybe they are the new kids in town), figuring out their new teachers, rubbing dirt into their new sneakers, and so on. Plus, there’s the whole return of bedtime thing. That’s where the kids are focused, and that’s the way it should be.
But if someone wants to sneak in a few, final summertime treats, I won’t tell anyone. A couple more ice cream stops. One last trip to the beach. A final cookout.
And maybe when the kids ask to stay up late this weekend, a last summer answer will slip out. “Okay.”