It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the last day of school - because it kind of was. Not yesterday, obviously, but just 8 short weeks ago we were looking forward to lazy days on the beach, day trips, ice cream, visits with family, and so many other fun summer activities.
And now here we are looking forward to apple picking and soccer games - and some of us (you can probably guess who) are even already looking forward to Christmas!
I'm not quite there yet, but I am working on shifting back into school mode, and there was something comforting about going through our regular school-day routine this morning, and knowing there was a set schedule to the day and week.
And yes, there was something awfully nice about having to deal with the noise of only one small child, rather than the constant cacophony of three small children.
I love my boys to pieces, but when all three of them are together, my god are they loud! So the (relative) silence is one of the things I enjoy most about them returning to school. And let me be clear that it is relative - Carmine is fully capable of creating quite a ruckus all by himself, but compared to the chaos the three of them create together, his noise level is very manageable.
A few hours of that 'silence,' during which I have the opportunity to think clearly and accomplish things (I checked more off my to-do list this afternoon than I have over the course of the entire summer), is just enough to rejuvenate me so that I'm happy to welcome the rowdiness back into the house in the afternoon, and look forward to the sounds of two little boys excitedly talking over one another to try to tell me about their day.
I'm still in disbelief that Gabe is a third-grader, and Dante a first-grader. And it hit me today that this will be Carmine's last year of being home with me all day. I certainly don't have to put him in preschool when he's 3, but I feel pretty certain that he's going to be more than ready, and I think it will be good for him.
I've done pretty ok with seeing both Gabe and Dante off to school every year. I always feel a little melancholy, but I don't usually cry or get too upset. I know they're in good hands, and I know this is part of the process, and although it does seem to go by in the blink of an eye, it is a very gradual process, and when the time has come for both of them, they've been ready, and so have I.
I always feel a little guilty that I don't get more sad - I read and hear people talking about how much they cried when they dropped their kids off on the first day, and I feel like somehow I'm doing something 'wrong,' because I'm not completely distraught over them being away from me all day long. But I love to see them learning and growing - that's what they're supposed to do, right? And I know full well that if it was me and them all day long every day all year long, we'd drive each other completely batty!!!! I'm a better mom when I get some breaks, and I happen to enjoy the 9am - 3pm break 5 days a week from September to June.
I may feel differently when it comes to sending Carmine off to Kindergarten - our last baby! - but I have a few years to prepare myself for that. For now, he's still my constant companion, tagging along and keeping me company, and doing a pretty good job of keeping me laughing. He told me he wanted lunch today, and I got some leftover pizza for him, which he gobbled right up, and then informed me that he wanted "lunch now," to which I replied "You just had lunch." He answered "No, that not lunch. That pizza." I guess as far as he's concerned, if it's not a turkey and cheese sandwich, it's not lunch.
On the flip side of all of this return to schedules and routines and quiet afternoons, though, is the accompanying loss of days spent covered in sand and salt water, and trips to water parks, and dinners at Aunt Carrie's, and ice cream at Brickley's.
I fully appreciate the beauty of fall in New England, and I love all the fun fall activities we always take part in, but nothing compares to summer, and I'll be very sad to put away the sunblock and the beach umbrella.
I'm in the midst of putting together a photo book of all our summer adventures, though, so that we can look back on it during the cold winter days. We made the most of the final three days of the boys' vacation, hitting Water Wizz on the Cape on Friday, where we spent nearly 6 hours - and could easily have spent another hour or two. It was foolishly expensive, but worth every penny.
And of course all of Saturday and Sunday were spent at the beach, where we were treated to some spectacular surf, which meant awesome boogie boarding. I'm so glad we bought a boogie board for me and Scott to use, because I am loving it!!! I now totally understand why they spend nearly all day out in the water, waiting for the next 'good' wave. I also now totally understand why a pile of sand falls out when they take their bathing suits off.
We're hoping the weather's nice so that we can have one last hurrah at the beach for the holiday next weekend, and maybe even some nice September weekends where we can sneak in a few hours on the sand in between soccer games. School may have started, but summer doesn't officially end until September 21st, right?