Last night I was looking at a post my daughter had put on Instagram before she went to bed. It was a collage of photos from this summer and she had tagged all the friends she’d made at her day camp, thanking them for the “most amazing summer ever!”
It was really quite moving seeing a whole summer condensed into a collage of tiny photos and reading about how many great people she’d met and how much fun she’d had.
She made that collage and posted it last night because school was starting today. She was saying goodbye to summer.
And she was saying goodbye to another year gone by.
As I sat there ruminating on this, I got choked up and started to cry.
It’s not just the end of summer. It’s the end of one year and the beginning of another. It’s another year of my kids’ childhoods behind us.
If you know me at all, you might recall that I have a really hard time with the idea of my kids growing up. The mere thought of my babies not being my babies anymore brings me to tears on a regular basis.
But that Instagram post didn’t just make me sad because my kids are growing up and time is flying by faster than I ever thought it could.
It made me sad because despite all the bad stuff that’s happened this summer, namely my husband becoming unemployed along with a few other things, it’s also been one of the best summers we’ve ever had as a family.
Yes, we don’t have the money we had before and yes, I’ve worked harder than I ever have trying to bring in more money from my web design business and yes, it’s been stressful.
But at the same time, it’s been amazing. We’ve always been a close-knit family but I feel like we were all super tight this summer.
My husband and I are together every day. We eat lunch together. We talk about what we’re going to make for dinner. We run errands together. We share a lot of the work that used to be mostly just my responsibility. It’s been really nice.
And he has gotten to spend a lot more time with the kids than he normally ever would. Most days he got up with them, made them breakfast, took them to camp in the morning and picked them up every afternoon. Once they were home, their friends would come over and we’d have a house full of kids playing Minecraft together until just before dark. It was fun and everyone was happy.
My daughter, because she had a major falling out with her best friend earlier in the summer (they just made up a few days ago…yay!!!), spent a lot more time at home than in summers past and thus, she and I spent a lot of mom-daughter time together. We talked more, laughed more and did more together. I’ve cherished every second of it.
As a family, we took our annual vacation to the Keys and it was a blast. We saw tons of Key deer, wild iguanas, an alligator, a crazy land crab and caught lots of fish. We spent quality time with my stepmom. We ran into friends from home. We played mini-golf and went tubing. We visited my biological dad on the way down and then again on the way back home and we even stopped at the American Girl store in Miami, which is a much bigger deal than you might think.
You see, I’d been promising my daughter for years that I would take her to the flagship American Girl store in NYC but we’d never made it up there. Stopping at the one in Miami and letting her get her doll’s hair done and buy a little souvenir more than made up for the NYC trip that never happened. She was in heaven and we were happy just seeing her so happy.
Back at home, we did all kinds of fun things. We went fishing. We went swimming. We went for ice cream. We went to my son’s basketball games. We celebrated the kids’ birthdays. We just had SO MUCH FUN TOGETHER this summer.
It has really been, as my daughter said, an amazing summer.
Which begs the question…why should any of this make me sad?
I don’t know exactly.
I guess because it’s bittersweet.
Time is passing, the kids are growing up and somehow, what might have been a terrible summer was still so perfect.
It’s a gift for which I will always be grateful.