Summer is winding down and I can feel the first tinges of the ‘bers on the very far edges of the air. The leaves outside my window are still verdant and green, but the light has already shifted lower, the mornings are cooler, and darkness arrives just a hair’s breadth sooner each evening.
August as been a month of home-ness. July was such a flurry—both emotionally and physically, flinging ourselves across the continent or errands of family love and communion—that having a few weeks where nothing much happens is a respite. Life has settled into the cyclical but temporary rhythms of later summer: sleeping in, football practice, late lunches, and the annual collection of back-to-school necessities. It’s easier now than when they were little; new backpacks are not required annually, and I needn’t buy as many tissues or glue sticks, but man, those graphing calculators are expensive. Ditto size fourteen shoes. Life rolls on.
Jeffrey will be sixteen next week, the day after he starts his Junior year. He’s been practicing driving all summer, and while it’s still surreal to hand him the keys, he’s a careful driver and is excited about his rapidly approaching independence and the notion (if not the reality) of dating. I gulp hard, try and offer some words of wisdom and then let go a tiny bit at a time. Parenting is hard.
Bean has shot up over the summer like bamboo. I am suddenly and inexplicably looking up at him. He’s always seemed small to me, because he always was small next to his brother. It turns out? He’s not small. We were at the county fair last week, and a gentleman stopped to ask if my son played football. I assumed he was asking about Jeffrey. He wasn’t. As I looked down the midway at my tiny Bean, I saw him as he is today, instead of as the child I have nurtured and so fiercely fought for all these years. He’s a towering boy, still only thirteen, but following closely in his brother’s footsteps in nearly every way.
Abby is growing into herself. Having her skip a grade last year was one of those scary parenting decisions where you’re not certain you’re doing the right thing, but you have to do something. She told me last week that while it was hard at first, she’s really glad she did it. I exhaled a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding for a year. She’s still happy disappearing into a book for days on end, and she’s showing an aptitude for art. She is trying to figure out how to combine her love of science with her love of animals, and thinks perhaps being a veterinarian would be good. She’s also wondered aloud if NASA might need veterinarians for a Mars mission. Totally normal 11 year-old stuff.
Tiberius is curled up at my feet, a giant golden comma of furry love and snoring devotion. Down the hallway, the washer is churning through the football laundry, and rest of the house is still asleep. Soon enough, sleepy arms and surprisingly deeper voices will wander in, rubbing eyes, and bend down to hug me good morning before wandering off to find some breakfast.
A tiny respite before life rolls on yet again.