Late nights of snuggling in my bed with the kids, watching television or movies, still smelling of suntan lotion and lake water, will be replaced by set bedtime and routine. Waking up hours after the sun rises, staying in our pajamas until noon and eating breakfast for lunch, will be replaced by brutally honest alarm clocks and sack lunches packed the night before. Dinners on the deck, on the dock, or anywhere else we could share a meal with friends, will be replaced by meals on the run and plates warming on the heating tray.
Today is where summer ends and school begins.
Tomorrow is the start of a new season for our family.
The Tortoise is a freshman in high school. She is on the swim team and going to her first dance. She and her friends like to hang around the kitchen, graze from whatever food I display on the counter, and talk to me about boys, friends and clothes. School has stopped being about learning social skills and penmanship. It is about learning to prioritize, focus, and prepare for her future. My role as teacher has dwindled. I am now more of a cheerleader, a confidant and sounding board. The Tortoise has stopped talking at me this summer, and started talking with me. We have more conversation than conflict. After such a wonderfully intimate summer, I will miss her immensely. I must remember to cherish every opportunity with her for the next four years, because in a blink, she will be off to college.
The Hare and I, on the other hand, will be starting something completely different. Hopefully there will be no tears or frustration before the sun shines, or arguing about eating breakfast or packed lunches, and no hurrying to get to school on time. I am optimistic that panic attacks and sleepless nights will be at a minimum. But most of all, I hope that my 10-year-old will start thinking about her future again and not cry at night wishing the morning wouldn’t come. I want her to enjoy life again. This year, The Hare and I begin home schooling for the first time.
We spent the last week getting her desk ready, lining up her books and organizing her curriculum. She has completed her on-line orientation with her virtual school and made an outline of what her daily, weekly, and monthly schedule should resemble. She has even written introduction letters to her teachers and gotten a jump-start on her Spanish work. She is excited and eager to move forward into the fall.
It will be a transition for all of us. Lego projects and art work have crept into my personal work space. Reference books and syllabus line many of my shelves where recreational reading used to reside. I will not be making impromptu trips to the Salvation Army Store or meet a friend for lunch. The laundry will have to wait until bedtime and bathrooms won’t get cleaned until the weekend. And I will have to learn to get my exercising done either early in the morning or at night.
As the summer ends, I was worried I would become resentful of all the changes, but instead I feel a bit of relief. Relief that not only are the plans we made last year coming to fruition, but that things are falling seamlessly into place. However, I did buy myself a new rug to try and “reclaim” a little bit of myself in our shared workspace.