The end of summer is in sight, and unlike many of my contemporaries I hate the return to school. Our summer days are not always filled with rainbows and unicorns (after all she IS a hormonal tween), but I soak up every moment with my daughter.
I begin to feel the pangs of dread come over me the moment I see the “Summer Fun” sections in stores give way to “Back to School” madness. Ice cream makers are replaced with miniature dorm room coffee machines, and bubbles are removed to make way for bright yellow No. 2 pencils. As the school supply lists begin to appear in emails I find that I just want to hit the delete button as fast as they surface. These last weeks always make me take stock in the past months, and survey the quality time spent together.
Nothing has been more real to me than middle school staring me in the face. A friend commented just the other day on how she sees the teen trying to break through in my 11 year old. Of course, being one of the oldest in her class, she is mature for her age and also carries the influence of a much older sibling. I still see the warm, compassionate, young child inside that exterior comprised of eye rolls and “Mother” comments. When, at the end of the day, she still wants to curl up with me I gladly sink into that familiar position without pause.
I tried hard to live this summer with intention and awareness knowing our world is going to change as her life gives way to middle school, activities, and friendships (as it should). Together we created the A to Z Summer in an effort to do some fun things together. The letter activities did not have to be something epic in nature as much as it was time spent together.
We went on Adventures and enjoyed several days at the Beach. She had some great fun at Camp, and reached her Swimming goals with Meets and dropped times! She was productive with her Reading lists, and volunteering with Fifth Street Ministries. There were even some quirky experiences like the Livermush Festival…yes, there is such a thing! Together we perfected our Pound Cake recipe, and sampled homemade Ice Cream at an interesting drive-in. You get the picture – there are 16 more letters represented (and some letters even have multiple activities). We have just a few more letters to mark off our list before school begins. Several of our friends are making suggestions for the more difficult letters, and we are certainly open to suggestions! We’ve contemplated awarding a prize for the more creative suggestions.
Middle school is breathing down our necks, but I can say that our summer together has been filled with quality time. As I begin to purchase all the back-to-school supplies (including a calculator bigger than her head), I’m going to be fulfilling the remaining letter activities. In just a few weeks the house will be silent through the day, and full of chatter in the evenings. The yearly rat race begins with homework, swim practice, youth group, and social fun. I imagine I will see glimpses of the teen trying to break through, but for now I hold tight to our A to Z summer before the madness begins.