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18 Summers: Why I’m Not Ready for School to Start Quite Yet

The year is filled with cycles. The hot humid days of summer make me crave the coolness of fall while winter’s chill has me wish for spring and the return of the warm sun on my face. The same is true of the school year and summer vacation.

Last May and June felt like a blur with soccer and baseball games every weekend and end of the year activities at every corner, especially for my daughter whose time in elementary school was coming to a close. The hectic nature of the last month of a half of school made me crave the unstructured days of summer where our agenda would consist of camp, time at the pool, a vacation or two, leisurely days where our moods dictated how we’d spend the day’s time, and connecting over fun things that they wanted to do.

With dive season finished for the summer, my kids in their last week of camp, and a month of summer until school starts, I’m not wishing for the next cycle to begin. I’m not ready for school to start even though I know its coming.

Back to school ads with the dozen pencils for a penny and 25 cent crayons are showing up in my inbox, mailbox, and on signage where I’m still shopping for sunscreen to replace the bottles we’ve exhausted this summer. I look but I’m not ready for back to school shopping because I’m simply not ready to give up my summer quite yet.

A couple years ago I attended a conference where one of the keynote speakers encouraged us to enjoy time with our kids because we only have 18 summers together. Eighteen summers before my kids leave for college, take a gap year to travel, or pursue an amazing work opportunity. Wow. That hit home.

At the time, my daughter was nine and I had half of our summers left. But as she’s grown up and time has gone by, I realize that our time together becomes less and less. At age 11, I realize my daughter has seven more summers before leaving home. In seven years we could be spending our summer doing back to school shopping as she heads off to college. Our son turned nine this summer. In nine more years we might be doing the same for him. Then we’ll officially be empty nesters. Sniff.

Eighteen summers assumes that our kids want to spend time with me and my husband through their middle and high school years. Just recently a friend told me her middle school daughter left for a two week sleep away camp saying it was time for her to have her own fun and do what she wants. As a parent, that statement is the sign of maturity but oh my does it rip your heart out!

Eighteen summers. That’s all we have with our kids so I’m not rushing the start of the school year. Instead, I’m cherishing summer and the last month we have together for fun, learning, and connecting with my kids that’s just not possible during the school year. And when the school year starts, I’ll be wishing for summer all over again even if it means we’re one more year closer to the final 18.

*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) or any Responsibility.org member.*

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