Our family has fallen out of our school day routine over the summer. We were ready far too quickly this morning and ended up arriving 25 minutes early for my children’s first day of the new school year. I’d forgotten what time we needed to leave the house. The funny part is that students go back on the first day just for an hour. We had to get up and go through the whole morning hassle just to get the kids to school for the one-hour headcount. It’s terribly inconvenient for working parents, although on a beautiful, late summer day, most parents were happy to hang around and catch up with each other while waiting for their children to be dismissed. We talked about our summers and made plans to make the best of what, for some, was an obligatory day away from work to accommodate their kids’ short school day.
Last night I tried to make a list of all we’d done over the summer. Aside from a two-week visit to see my parents, the kids’ vacation time was pretty mundane, or so I thought. Yet we’ve had one of the most enjoyable breaks I can remember. My husband and I are fortunate to have flexible schedules in the summer to manage childcare. With school-age children, however, there’s less child “care” and more hanging out together. They’re still at an age where they enjoy being with us, but now that my son is approaching his teenage years, I know that will change soon.
Some of our most treasured moments happened right on our patio—popsicles together, card games, and Lego building. And lots of play time with friends. There were trips to movies or indoor pools on cold, rainy days; outdoor pools or beach on warm days; berry picking; bike and scooter riding; playgrounds and splash parks. Our summer was filled with golden days like these.
So today, the first day back to school, many of us parents just couldn’t let go of summer. Hey, as long as we’d taken time off anyway, we needed one last beach trip. Plus, how could we let such a glorious day go by unappreciated.
I love to be immersed in water up to my neck under a hot sun. To me swimming is an activity best done outdoors (Although a heated pool when it’s snowing outside is pretty nice too.). Unfortunately living in a northern climate, in a place where it drizzles most of the year and where the ocean temperature hovers around 12°C, this severely limits my opportunities for the ideal swim. Not too far from our neighborhood is a little beach where the water is warmed by the hot sand during high tide. If we time it just right, the swimming is divine. Every trip to the beach I think might be my last of the year. If the weather changes, the water gets cold, and salt-water soaking is over for the year.
But today was close to perfect and a chance to say good-bye to summer and celebrate with friends that our kids are growing up. Time to soak up the sun and have one last float in salt water. It was, however, a little disconcerting to have a stark reminder of autumn from the yellow cottonwood leaves falling around us on the sand. And despite plenty of sunshine, I had to continuously move in the water to keep my arms and legs from going completely numb. (The seal hauled out on a log boom should have been a warning that the water was a little colder than it was a month ago.)
Our impromptu gathering included a gang of almost 20 kids from school, as well as a gaggle of parents. What a way to start the school year! And say farewell to golden summer days.