Monday, August 10, 2015

Not too eager for summer's end

From Saturday's Briefing:

No matter how you feel about summer break, no doubt you’re aware that its days are numbered.
These waning days are at the top of the conversation- starter list, closely followed by shared disgust with oppressive, three-digit heat. No matter where you are — be it Target, Kroger, a public library or front sidewalk — someone’s got an opinion.
The receptionist at the pediatric dentist asked me this week, “Are you ready for school to start?” The telltale weary look in her eye and the tone in her voice indicated that she, no doubt, had been ready for the break to end in July.
The young people at my house seem ready, too.
Actually, Cooper sort of feels like school has already started. It’s the summer before his freshman year, and, like generations of band members preceding him, he’s learning songs and drills just in time for football season. On top of that, he’s waking early every morning to run in advance of cross-country season.
That means that Katie and I are often home alone, which means Katie either talks to me nonstop — she’s never had trouble expressing herself — or she invents her own projects. (Sometimes she manages to do both at the same time.)
This week, for example, she placed on the sofa a giant stuffed animal, fastened a pillowcase around its neck, stuck a cardboard crown on its head, gave it a handmade scepter and named it “Sir Cluck.”
Sir Cluck’s reign was short-lived yet memorable, which is how I feel about summer — a little too brief and packed with moments we won’t forget.
This summer we drank from a waterfall on the side of the road near British Columbia. The water tasted liked snow.
We cruised through Glacier Bay National Park and witnessed a piece of ice crash into the ocean.
We sang and danced at Vacation Bible School.
We nurtured basil in a giant planter and snipped leaves for pastas and salads.
We watched Back to the Future and The Truman Show.
We devoured a generous number of snow cones and popsicles.
Crammed in the middle of all those memories are the everyday moments we’re likely to (or would like to) forget — squabbles over whose turn it is to fold towels or utterances of “I’m bored” or reruns of Jesse. So many reruns of Jesse.
Those are the kind of moments that tend to push mommas over the edge, that make us count down to the first day of school and its accompanying return to routine and reasonable bedtimes.
I’m not counting down yet, though. I know that these leisurely seasons won’t last forever.
One day we won’t know all the latest VBS songs by heart. We’ll have difficulty finding one week that we can all go out of town together. There won’t be piles of stuffed animals all over the house. Sir Cluck’s legacy will have faded.
By the first day of school, I’ll be ready for the first day of school. Until then, I’m not wishing away these remaining moments.
The neighborhood pool beckons. Some snow cones are calling our names. A movie or two begs to be watched.
These days are numbered. I want to make them count.
Tyra Damm is a Briefing columnist. Email her at
Last Thursday, leaving the mall, after a movie, snacks and being silly

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