I've lived by an academic calendar most of my life, and every August, I feel sad. I hate to see the summer end.
It's true that summer has changed as my kids have gotten older. I miss going to the beach with little kids and building sand castles or playing in a plastic wading pool or hearing their squeals of excitement over the discovery of a frog or snake or vending machine. But teenage kids are fun too; I've enjoyed the games of Ultimate that took place almost every night we were home. And I can't really complain about the summer I've had, which began with a trip to the City of Gondolas and has included visits with friends and blogger meet-ups and many trips. My summer has included hiking, canoeing, swimming, and sailing. I've been to the river, to the mountains, and to the ocean.
I didn't go to my 25-year college reunion because I had other plans that weekend, but I did get a nice visit from my freshman year roommate, who came early and stayed overnight so that I had time to get used to the southern accent she's acquired over the last 25 years. I met, at long last, one of my closest blogging friends, the Famous Phantom Scribbler. I even took a road trip to the Ultimate Frisbee Capitol of the Universe.
I did do some work. I chaired a search committee, which entailed all kinds of emails, phone calls, and paperwork. I even had to dress up in grown-up clothes and go into campus every day one week for interviews. I wrote a journal article that was due the end of June, and I organized an event for first year students that will take place in September. I read books in my field and planned out my courses.
But mostly, I've had a relaxing summer, spending time with family and friends or going off by myself on occasion. I spent a weekend at the monastery in June, playing with my new camera, and we went to my parents' camp four times. One July evening, my women friends gathered under the full moon for a ceremony, the same group of friends who will be going off to the mountains together this fall. I spent last week at my sister's house, where I was waited on hand and foot: she made me delicious meals and Tie-dye Brother-in-law kept handing me squares of dark chocolate. Instead of taking care of little kids, I've had a summer of laziness, with everyone else waiting on me. That's been nice.
My life is changing rapidly as my kids get older. My daughter graduated from college. Boy in Black turned twenty. Shaggy Hair Boy will be a senior in high school. Even With-a-Why is a teenager now. So this was a different kind of summer, one in which I had time for myself, time with my husband, and time with friends. It was a summer of transition, a summer of sunshine and thunderstorms and rainbows.