Today has been a day lived in full cognizance of the passing of time. Each moment together, sweeter because of the change that sets in tomorrow with the beginning of the school year. I put in the effort to make a meal that could be savored as a family. We went out for dinner and capped it with a sweet treat of mochis at the end.
The kids are picking out clothes for tomorrow. A Hindi song celebrating the monsoon is playing in the living room. There is a sense that things are closing in.
This Summer has been one of travel, sickness and, lazy fun in that order. June was all about India. July was about easing into the special kind of laziness that comes with long, hot days. August saw a quickening of pace, a flurry of emails from the school district announcing home room assignments and sharing school supply lists. We had back to school night and end of summer hair cuts.
Each day over the past couple of months was about how time stretched and fit comfortably. Each meal was together, chatting and ribbing each other. The TV was on all day, each kid setting a timer and claiming a slice of time for herself. Devices were a constant presence other than at meal times and bed time. Shopping for clothes was fun once I let go of the notion that the clothes they wore had to appeal to my sense of what is okay.
As my older two grew taller than me, the dynamic between us has shifted. We talk. We really talk. Things in the news gets discussed. We talk about the midterms. We talk about candidates and civic duty. We talk about violence against women, sexuality and abortion rights.
The youngest claims her space in her own way. She links her fingers with mine as we walk around the community after dinner. We talk about her tae kwon do classes and how excited she is to be a third grader. Most of all, we talk about what it means to go to school and what learning is all about.
Tomorrow morning will be all about pictures at the stoop and the bus stop. It will be about shiny new backpacks and lunch bags. It will be about blessed quiet in the home after the last school bus leaves.
Mostly, the beginning of the school year is the turning of a page marking the next chapter in our lives. The number at top of the page is a stark reminder of the shrinking number of pages to get to the end of the book. It is bitter sweet. This story is one I have come to enjoy. I rue the day when book one of the series ends and the next begins.