This morning, the alarm barged into my dreams at what felt to my sleep-sunk mind like the middle of the night.

The girls were already dressed and waiting.

They chattered and sang all the way to the bar for our traditional first-day-of-school breakfast, and Dan and I barely had time to kiss the tops of their heads before they were off to squeal with friends and hug teachers in the schoolyard. The bell rang, the doors opened, and the resulting stampede sound of 150 kids charging to class made me laugh out loud. September school days still make me feel like a crisp current of possibility is tickling my airways.

Summer 2014 is well and truly over as of 8:15 this morning, and I’m struggling to find the proper ceremony of closure within my heart. It was a long summer for us, a gamut of unforeseen changes that left us alternately exhilarated and heavy-hearted. I didn’t numb myself this summer; I stayed awake for every minute of it, and the result is that I’m feeling tender and mighty and overexposed and reinvented all at once. I’d like to take a vacation to knead the knots of the last few months out of my muscles—not a normal vacation with luggage and an activities roster, mind you, but a vacation of quiet. A respite. Nature to look at listen to and absorb, and nothing else on the agenda. Think Thoreau with room service.

Until I get a chance to slip away though, I’ll continue to drink coffee here at my desk with neighborly snatches of conversation and roadway percussion rolling through my open window. I’ll light dessert-scented candles (the only ones worth burning, in my opinion) and woo my mind toward words for the few quiet hours afforded me. I’ll fix big, Italian-style lunches and hug my girls when they walk in the front door, dropping backpacks where they don’t belong and calling “What’s to eat?” before I’ve finished saying hi. I’ll try every day without fail to cram more productivity into the afternoon than is humanly possible. I’ll read with the girls, tuck them into bed, and resolve to follow a responsible bedtime routine for myself as well. I’ll stay up too late anyway. The alarm clock will catch me off-guard each and every morning, but that’s what the coffee’s for. I’ll walk this daily path into September until, ceremony or not, I find that summer has closed itself like a sun-faded paperback.

How is the seasonal switchover going for you? 

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  1. absolutely beautiful, Bethany. I used to love the return to schedule when the kids went back to school, but finding a way to close summer was tough some years. Sounds like you’ll do just fine.

  2. “Think Thoreau with room service.”
    Good one, Bethany! I can totally buy that!
    I used to be outdoorsy. But as the years accumulate, I find the Hobbit in me emerging more all the time, and I’m finding adventures more fun to remember and to read about than to actually experience. Camping is still lots of fun, but getting back to hot showers and my Keurig becomes my dream after the second night under the stars 🙂

  3. Thoreau with room service! YES! Can I come? I am tired. And behind. So? Normal transition into crazy I guess. And I mean crazy. We often have three kids going three different directions every evening, and then we get home late. My poor students get a last glance before I fall asleep grading. I am excited for soccer season to be over. Only three weeks! Then life will settle into an easier routine. I hope. 🙂 xoxoxoxox

    • Come! We’ll have our own little retreat. You’ll just have to make five or six clones of yourself to keep the fort down while you’re away. 🙂

  4. I find myself wanting to go into hibernation.

    • Some years, I truly do wish the government would institute mandatory hibernation for the winter. Christmas vacation certainly doesn’t count as a recharge!

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