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The official end of summer
Sudie Crouch

I am not ready for school to start back.

I’m not.

I need at least another month, maybe two.

But for my child, school starts back this week.

I had big plans for the summer.

Things to do. Things to see.

And instead, we have rushed, rushed, rushed with nothing to show for it.

“I need another month,” he said forlornly.

I agreed.

Even as excited as he is to see his friends, he still wanted to enjoy his freedom a little bit longer.

One of my friends asked if it was normal for school to start back so soon.

“He just got out,” she said. “And August is the middle of summer!”

I assured it was normal for here and that some schools started back last week and even the week before that. She was shocked. Did Georgia kids get a summer at all?

It didn’t feel like it.  

We should start back in September after Labor Day like we did when I was a kid.

Even though I am not prepared for school to start back, it is just one of the many things I am not ready for.

I am not ready for my child to be a high schooler and all the things that come with that.

The last eight grades have been a blur. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was tearfully dropping him off at Pre-K, counting down the minutes until I could go pick him up?

Now, he is heading into high school and already talking about his first car and college plans.

I am excited for him, of course, and proud of how he is becoming his own person, but I am not ready for all of this growniness he is demonstrating.

I need a little bit more time to get ready for all of this.

They can go over everything they want to during the open house, but none of it is preparing my heart for all of these big changes.

Even getting school supplies is not the same.

The joy of seeing all the pencils and pens, the notebooks and binders, and all the varieties of Elmer’s glue has changed.

I felt so nostalgic, standing in the aisles, looking at the supplies that normally fill my heart with as much glee as a bag of Reese’s at Halloween.

But the feeling was not the same.

My child was fine with just a few packs of notebook paper, some plain binders, and a couple of notebooks.

“Do you like these pencils?” I asked, holding up a pack for inspection.

He nodded and said they were fine.

We used to spend several minutes searching for the perfect pencils together.

None of the usually oohing and ahhing that we normally had, surveying all the wonders before us.

Nothing with puppies. No cartoons or superheroes; not even Iron Man.

Back to school clothes shopping was fairly easy, too.

Just some jeans, shirts, and a pair of shoes bigger than what his father wears.

None of the cute graphic tees with sayings like “Mom’s the boss,” or “Blame it on the dog.”

He did get a NASA shirt, bringing his collection of NASA-wear to four.

I just feel like summer – and life in general – has gone by too fast.

Maybe this summer is just a symptom of it, or a glaring example.

How we can plan to do things and never get around to doing them.

We end up whittling the days away, doing things that are not productive or help us bond with the people we love most.

And before we know it, the summer, just like a large portion of our lives, has passed us by quietly, quickly, and without us doing any of the things we really wanted to do.

I yearned for another month of summer; I ached to travel back in time and to be able to press pause so I could make things slow down and cherish every second a little bit longer.

But I can’t.

None of us can.

And like it or not, summer is officially over. Not because of Labor Day or some other holiday signaling its end but because school is back in session.

One more year will quickly, stealthily go by, and bring even more changes on the horizon.

So, I am not ready for school to start, in hundreds and hundreds of little heart-wrenching ways.