I hear from a lot of parents who are happy when summertime ends and they can send their children back to school. For me, there is always a lingering sadness. It reminds me of my own melancholy as a child when I knew my days of nothingness were numbered.
A big part of it is that they're not under stress in the summer, so I simply enjoy them more. They're happier kids. Plus, they get a lot of sleep during the summer. I mean a lot of sleep! Sometimes, I wake them up on weekends around noon so, as my mother used to say, they don't "sleep the day away." Who wouldn't be chipper after twelve or more hours of sleep?
In the summer, we don't have the same time constraints that homework, sports and extracurricular activities place on our family during the school year. There are no late night practices followed by hours of homework and trips to Target for last-minute project supplies. There are no quizzes to help them study for or essays to proofread. Instead, there are impromptu trips to the frozen yogurt shop or occasional movie outings. Like the Ella Fitzgerald song goes, 'summertime and the livin' is easy.'
Last week, I said goodbye to my summer-children as they head back to school. They will be replaced by school-year-children who trend more on the anxious, tired, sometimes brash side of the pendulum. I love them just as much as my summer-children, but I have to admit, I do miss my summer-children when they leave for nine months.
For now, I will buck up and steel myself to the reality that soon the cool breezes of fall will creep our way, the days will become shorter, the darkness falling earlier, and we will all jump back on the treadmill of family life until the warmth of another North Carolina summer beckons us.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here every Monday.