When we were driving home from swim class early yesterday afternoon, I was a little surprised to see the large Halloween store banner on the empty storefront a half mile away from my house.
It’s only the first week of September and already there’s a Halloween store that’s going up? It’s not even the end of summer yet!
I’ve had several people look startled when I’ve mentioned that we still have almost three weeks left of summer; they seem convinced that autumn has begun despite what the calendar says.
I’m all for planning. I’ve even begun to put together a fall wish list with the kids that I’ll be sharing in the next few weeks, but this fascination with moving on to the next thing before what you’re doing has really truly ended has disturbed me lately.
Maybe it’s because my thoughts have been focused lately on truly enjoying and being in the moment…of not taking for granted what’s in front of you now and experiencing it as fully as you can while it’s still there.
When I taught in the school system, I used to get a sickening pit in my stomach around the middle of July. We had only been out of school for maybe six weeks, when I’d start seeing the back to school signs whenever I turned on the TV or went into a store. I still had a whole month in front of me to work on my own projects; to take advantage of the summer weather, and do all those wonderful things you can only do during the summer months.
I was never allowed just to enjoy the summer for what it was.
Even after my kids were born, I’d still get that familiar pit in my stomach around the middle of August, even though I wouldn’t be going back to teaching. When the kids were pre-school age, I’d start to get the questions from other moms about where our kids would be going to school….when they were 3 years old!
And then last year it was even worse. Last year my kids would have started their kindergarten year. We got even more questions and comments about the first year of school, when we would begin lessons, how our schedule would change.
Even though I was already very comfortable with our lifestyle of learning, of knowing and seeing for myself how much my kids were learning every day, it still was hard not think that because schools had started in our area, that somehow we should be changing, too.
I had told my husband that he would see that once schools started up, we would continue learning just the same as we had done in the past. Nothing in our lifestyle would change. But could it really be that simple?
So we decided to go downtown to the beach on the first day that the kids in our neighborhood went to school. And then the rest of the week we played outside, and went to the playground during the day, and rode our bikes.
And nothing changed. We continued to live and learn just as we had done before. The first official day of school that surrounded us had not changed us at all.
This year on the first official day of school in our neighborhood we were hiking up a 10,000 foot mountain in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I had known it was the first day of school, but I didn’t feel that familiar pit in my stomach as strong this year. In fact I hardly felt it at all.
So we’re enjoying these last two and a half glorious weeks of summer. We’re getting out in the warm weather and swimming, playing, going to gardens, and zoos, and parks.
We’re living in the current season fully, even as we look forward to all that autumn has to offer in the near future.
Photo Credit: Boris Savluc
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