As any Mom worth her salt knows, summer has little to do with the date on the calendar marked as "first day of summer". It's all about the date the school shuts and locks its doors.
Since my kids attend two schools, that means two first days of summer in our household. The first was yesterday, as my youngest walked out of his school doors for the last time as a freshman.
The others will finish up next week, so they still had to trudge off to the bus this morning with heads hung low.
Summer with school-aged children is a funny thing, isn't it? When we Moms make it to the final stretch, we're nearly as giddy with anticipation as our kids. We cannot WAIT for school to be over with. No more begging/pleading/cajoling/demanding on issues of homework, studying, books, papers, projects. No more dance recitals, play practice, after-school activities. No more lunch money, lunch-packing, permission slips, field trips, field days, teacher conferences. We think of long lazy days and watermelon and beaches and pools and the smell of sunblock and the warmth of the sun and good books and roadside stands overflowing with fresh goodies. Like our kids, we feel FREE.
But then by the end of the summer? We become just as giddy over the thought of them returning to school. No more sun-up to sun-down bickering, boredom. No more messes. Well, scratch that. Still plenty of mess, just seven hours less in the day for them to create those messes. Seven hours less in the day for them to suck every crumb out of your cabinets and yell "There's nothing to eeeeeeeeatt!!!" We dream of quiet houses, changing the radio station from pop to classic rock, fall leaves, cool weather, sweatshirts and jeans, quiet...
So for me, and probably for most parents, the summer solstice is not about the point at which days go from getting longer to getting shorter or about the beginning of the summer season. Rather, it is the tipping point of summer break when we go from being glad school is over to counting down the days till it starts back up again. My solstice typically arrives sometime in late July, but of course that depends very much on how my little angels are behaving. If they act more like the young adults most of them are, my solstice may never come. If they carry on like over-sugared 3rd graders at a birthday party, my solstice may very well arrive before summer truly begins.
Here's hoping for a late solstice.
Happy summer, everyone!