The First Last Days Of Summer

Monday and it’s August 2nd.
The countdown has already begun.My heart begins to thump in my chest. Matters of my heart are now pushed to the forefront as the layers that have lovingly surrounded it since June will begin to flake away by the 15th as children start to leave for college again.

I always feel such conflict when the ‘back-to-school’ time of year approaches. It started when my boys were in elementary school so this isn’t a new thing for me but it has escalated with the college send-offs. The ‘good mom’ in me happily opens the door for them to go knowing this is what we have always wished and planned for them to do but then I have this ethereal vision of blocking the door with my body because I love having them here, at home, but that really does go against what I want for them so of course, thankfully, ‘the good mom’ always prevails.

I learned last year that I indeed could and did survive year 1 of the complete empty nest and sometimes I found the more simplistic life could also be very nice. For one thing, the house stayed much cleaner, there were less dirty dishes on the counter waiting for someone to unload the clean dishes from the dish washer and I didn’t lug gallons of milk home on a daily basis. This didn’t mean I escaped the funk where I felt old and wondered what my purpose in life was now that it didn’t revolve around a child’s on a daily basis. I didn’t escape it, and neither did my husband, but it came in ebbs and flows and I learned to just let it happen and not to be so hard on myself. If I felt sad and lost for a day or two and parked myself in front of TMC with Robert Osborne so be it until I was forced to join the real world again. And I always did.

What we will really miss is the youthful energy, the joking around with eachother, the normal bantering of brothers’ conversation and playful feats of strength, their unique and individual cadence of coming down the stairs or walking on the wooden floor and what I call ‘the circling of the sharks’ when the meal is not yet in progress but their speedy metabolisms have kicked in bringing them down stairs to circle the kitchen island looking for a hint of ‘what’s for dinner’?

This summer it all returned home where it belonged and it was special and we knew it and appreciated it. We haven’t had this long of a time together since four years ago when son1 was between high school and freshman year. I found my heart so full at times that my husband and I would just smile at eachother without words.

Then the spell was broken yesterday – August 1 when the countdown began.

It will be hard to let this go once again but I realized this feeling is the by-product of doing my job as a parent and doing it well. We have given our boys the love and confidence to feel they can leave home and pursue graduate school, a new apartment, a new room mate, a new city, a new university, and to return for a sophomore year with a new commitment and living experience. This knowledge helps me to get over that gnawing feeling of the impending loneliness that I know will come when we step back into the house after the last drop off but it also helps me now knowing I have to rally to make those last trips to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond to assist my shopping challenged men.

Right now we are 4.
In 2 weeks, we be 3.
4 weeks after that, we will be 2.
Make that 3 with Robert Osborne who will surely be visiting for a few days in September.
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  1. Aw. I know so well how you feel. Circling of the sharks indeed. And there’s the beasts coming to the waterhole in the morning too::).

  2. Great description – circling of the sharks! I so know of what you speak. And the inner-conflict – and the good mom vs. the helicopter mom. I just always think how sad to be like my next door neighbors who have a son older than I living at home with them doing some menial job, etc. They never had to experience this, and I know they wish they had. We are so lucky in our tears. xoxo

  3. LOL.. not having children – (yet) … I can only relate through our little furbabies…

    But I know how much my Mother misses us when we haven’rt been home .. and how much she looks forward to the time we are there.

    Wishing you many long . long days before the first has to be off… XO HHL

  4. Yeah, Preppy 101…lucky in our tears!! I will still have 2 at home while saying goodbye to 2….it is still incredibly hard! Hang in there.

  5. Thank you for articulating so well what I too have been feeling! It’s so new and strange still to not have all 4 of us living under one roof! And you are right it has it good and bad points. But, we are in this place because we are doing a good job as parents! Great post!

  6. My thoughts and feelings EXACTLY ~ I was driving home from the market today in a funk with these very thoughts circling in my head.

    I try not to be the hysterical mother sobbing and throwing my body down begging him not to leave home. I haven’t reached this low yet but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to muster up the strength to stay in control. 🙂 I’m already counting down the days until Fall break and classes haven’t even begun.

    There is much to be said about the phone calls home and how our relationship is growing on a different level.


  7. Nicely done, “the spell is broken”….that is exactly the term that fits this time of year…my oldest returned to college yesterday for the third year and my second child is starting his senior year…the other two have a way to go, but I savor every minute all the chicks are back in the nest!

  8. i am in my own august funk, too.

    on saturday I was started to feel bluesy about august. As a kid, all the fun stuff seemed to happen in july and august meant that summer was starting to wind down and school was starting. I guess those feelings are lingering into adulthood b.c I really don’t like August. I’d rather go from July right into Sept.

  9. Ebb and flow… Right now we have two at camp and there are only four of us at the table. It feels empty. I guess it is relative- My empty/partial nest is your full one!

  10. Once again dear friend you have perfectly described my feelings. Aaw the bittersweet feelings of motherhood.

  11. ohh great post…touching my heart…Happy friendship day to you.visit my blog

  12. Re-purposing yourself… that’s the challenge. I still “do” for my kids, all the time. Not in an everyday cooking and cleaning for them way, although I still cook and occasionally do clean for them, ha. But now… I sew for them , re-do furniture for them , and the best of all… babysit for them. Life changes, but you’ll always be a giving Mom to your appreciative and deserving children.
    And yes, the best times are when we’re all together, having family fun, I treasure that.

  13. Here’s to the Good Mom–I hope she prevails as we move in the first in 11 days.

  14. I’m not there yet. I have 1 in middle school and 2 in elementary… I am wishing September would come… like now. And then I stopped by for a visit and read your touching post which brought tears to my eyes. I felt everything you wrote even though I have not experienced it yet. I’m not ready for college yet… but, I still want September to come!

  15. i am not wanting to read this post all the way because i’m not ready to face the end of summer! i feel like mine just started!!! haha

  16. Only one is out of my nest and I miss him so much. 4 more to go, though! Something is missing when any of them are gone!

    blogger comment isn’t working for wordpress tonight so I’ll just leave my blog:

  17. marianne says:

    Just read this as a recent college grad , and I just wanted to share that I really, truly enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for a great study break every once in a while! 🙂