Between the Sun and the Leaves
Technically summer isn’t over until mid-September, but “back to school” definitely makes it seem as if the warm weather fun is winding down. Along with the first day of school comes a myriad of feelings for me. Those emotions emerge for a variety of reasons and in multiple ways, some of them positive and some of them not. The educator side of me along with the parent, the grandparent and the empty nester all have input into this cornucopia of sentiments.
As an educator, I have the usual bittersweet anticipation of the coming school year. It is always exciting to get a fresh start and to meet the new students and faculty members. On the other hand, there is also usually some regret over things that went unaccomplished over the summer and a bit of agitation over the buzzing alarm clock. Also, no matter how many years of experience I have at this, there is always some nervousness over changes and newly developing schedules. Finally, there is empathy when watching parents attempt to blink back tears as they drop their children off during that first week. Emotions at school run high for everyone involved.
As a parent, there is a bit of nostalgia as I watch the students in their new clothes and fresh backpacks nervously walking up the hallways. There is always a glimmer of remembrance and a “seems like only yesterday” flicker of sadness in my heart. Sometimes as I watch the peewee football team practice or a soccer match being played or cross country runners going the distance, I have the distinct feeling that one of my boys should step off the field and hop in my car to go home for supper.
As a grandparent, I have the desire to spend as much time as possible with my grandchildren. School hours really put a damper on my trips to their house, and faculty meetings cut into my afternoon time with them. All too soon my grandchildren will be the ones walking the halls at their own schools or playing sports on the fields. Time is marching much too quickly.
As an empty nester, I will also miss the extra time in the summer to spend with my parents. Having lunch with them, sitting outside and simply sharing in daily family conversations becomes more difficult as summer fades into fall. Additional vacation time with the boys and their families and extra-long visits will have to wait until spring turns into summer next year.
At this time of year, more than any other, there is a deep desire within me to simply make time stand still. To savor the warmth, the scents, the magic of summer. To hang on tightly to every last moment before the ring of the bell and the start of a new school year. And yet at this time of year, more than any other, there is also a deep desire within me to make this the best one yet. To look forward to the crisp coolness, the scents, the colorful kaleidoscope of fall. To let go of summer and jump head first into the new school year in eager anticipation of what’s to come.