Here we are again at the end of another glorious summer.
I can tell this is true, not just because of the date on the calendar (of which I stopped looking at long ago, so I actually have no idea what the date is), but also because of my full heart from all the summer memories.
That and all the rotting vegetables in the kitchen. There is a cabbage turning black in the fridge next to a couple mushy cucumbers. And just yesterday, Jacob pointed to the now-speckled spaghetti squash I purchased I don’t even know when and said, “Mom! We’d better eat your spaghetti squash soon, because it’s starting to turn into a cantaloupe!”
Please tell me I’m not the only one who feeds my children watermelon and Otter Pops for dinner more nights than I’d care to admit at the end of the summer. Because who really wants to eat spaghetti squash and cooked peppers when they could have fresh peaches followed by a trip to Edaleens? And probably a bowl of cereal later, because you’ll now be hungry before bed.
Tonight’s meal was an improvement on the end-of-summer norm. Jacob had a tortilla, a peach, and a handful of salty almonds while hopping around in the kitchen. He likely also ate several fruit flies that kept swarming his peach, but we won’t tell him that. The boy needs protein where he can get it. And any extra fruit flies have since been taken care of. (Insert evil cackle.)
Annalise had a Mexican Pile. (Let me clarify, as this meal name could possibly bring to mind several different pictures, none of which would be appetizing. Or edible. Or even really appropriate. The “Mexican Pile” was what she named an accidental dinner I made the other night. No, I didn’t accidentally make dinner. Although at the end of August, any prepared meal is likely the result of some sort of strange phenomenon – accident or otherwise. It’s just that the meal I made didn’t work out as planned and turned into something else. A surprise. I had planned an ambitious meal of pork tacos with homemade pico-de-gallo and a side of Mexican rice and black beans. The tortillas fell apart, dropping the shredded pork and other taco fillings on to the plate. We decided to share the meal sans tortillas, and we just slopped it all together in one big pile with some sprinkled cheese on top. She christened the meal a “Mexican Pile” and has asked for it several times since. Tonight while chowing away on her (leftover reheated) pile, she said, “Mommy, I think I could eat all the Mexican Piles in all the whole world, and none of them would be as good as yours. I LOVE your piles.” My middle school brain and I don’t know how to respond to such, ahem, compliments. So I just smile through my stifled giggles and move on.)
Still, you’ll notice our end-of-summer improved dinner was less than ideal and contained almost no produce. (Unless you count the fabulous homemade pico-de-gallo, if I do say so myself.) Plus, it was served at 8:45 PM. And to tell you the truth, at the end of summer, I really don’t even care any more. Food enters mouth. Stomach is filled. Mouths are not complaining.
This is the kind of high-bar we set around here once August nears its end.
But it all is just further evidence to this sad truth: Next week, I’ll be going back to work. And Jacob will be back at the babysitter’s. And Annalise will be back to school.
Which means it’s high time I head on over to the grocery store and invest in a cart load of tissue and chocolate to get me through all the tears that will soon flood.
(And while I’m there, I should probably purchase a vegetable or two.)
Remember this post? About the first days of Kindergarten? A.K.A. The Days that Slowly Ripped My Heart Into a Million Tiny Shreds?
It’s all about to happen all over again. And I can already feel my stomach in knots and the lump in my throat that is a signal for the floodgates of emotion and panic about my children growing up too quickly and guilt about not savoring every moment of summer wonder with them.
The truth is, when you’re spending every waking moment with these little peeps, sometimes you forget that – although your ears need a break for JUST ONE MINUTE FOR GOODNESS SAKE – soon there will be minutes upon minutes upon hours and days that you’ll wish you and your ears had them back for every waking moment again.
Or at least for some of the waking moments.
Because I mean, let’s be real here. A few
minutes hours of couple time, reading, a quiet walk, OR GOING TO THE BATHROOM IN PEACE is always nice. So no, you don’t want them around every waking minute. Just more waking minutes than you seem to get them once school starts again.
Alas, wishing they would stay little and we’d stay home together is not only futile, but it robs me of the joy of watching them grow into exactly who God wants them to be.
Or at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself tonight as I do my best to stifle that massive throat lump and the ugly cry that will surely follow.
Tonight while on a walk, Annalise picked up a dandelion fluff and said, “I should make a wish and blow this all away. It’s supposed to make your wish come true, you know. Only I know that’s not true. But you know what, Mama?” She giggles, revealing the little patch of dimples on her right cheek. I love her so much, it hurts. “I COULD wish something that I know for SURE would come true. All I have to do is wish that a bunch more weeds will grow, and then I blow this away, and my wish will come true every place they land!”
Well now. There you go. If that isn’t just looking on the bright side while setting the bar about as low as it can go.
Or maybe it’s avoiding heartache by accepting (or even finding the joy?) in the inevitable.
Kinda like wishing your kids would keep growing – because you know they’re going to anyway.
Even if it fills your heart to overflowing while simultaneously ripping it into a million tiny shreds. In all of the history of ever, I don’t believe there has ever been a more beautiful and painful thing as being a parent.
And then next summer, it will continue. All those heart-filling memories and joy of seeing them become who God made them to be. Followed by the end of August reality of how they’re growing at a faster speed than you ever imagined and now you have to let them go once again.
And it will be deja vu all over again.