So today my life of decadence and leisure comes to an end. No longer will my days be spent reading a novel in the shade of my patio while my son runs in circles around the patio table, chasing a cat, or kicking a ball or, well, just running. My tri-weekly (or frequenter) visits to the coffee shop for chai and the occasional toffee cookie are a thing of the past. So much for trips to the children’s museum minutes after it opens and being the only people in the comic book room.
In less than twelve hours, summer, as I know it, is over. Yes, that’s right. Even though the leaves on the trees have not even begun to hint that they’ll be changing color, fall has arrived for me. It doesn’t matter that the temperatures are supposed to creep back up into the mid-to high 80’s next week, by this time tomorrow, I’ll have sat through eight hours of back to school meetings, made about a zillion photo copies and organized my classroom so that when the kids report back on Tuesday morning, I’ll be ready.
As a teacher I am always sad for the end of summer, but this year it seems especially bitter to me. For the last three months (well, just shy of), my best friend and I have been fairly unencumbered, and have met almost daily to hang out, have lunch, go shopping, or walk around the neighborhood. When she was busy taking classes for her PhD or in yoga, I got to spend lots of one on one time with my son. This meant weekly trips to the zoo, children’s museum and even a few trips to story time. We got to snuggle up on the couch and watch Wonder Pets once a day. We sat on the patio and read Dr. Seuss books together. He learned something like 30 new words. And how to walk and hold my hand instead of making a bee line right for the street. He learned the tunes to about half a dozen songs, and although the words aren’t clear, the tunes really are and he can sing them all the way through. He can identify his nose, my nose, ears, teeth, and belly buttons (and likes to show mine off while we are out). He’s learned to eat fairly consistently with a spoon and fork. We ate Indian food. We ate Mexican food. We ate fair food.
It’s been quite the adventure.
Mostly though, I’ve really gotten to see my son’s personality develop. Last summer he was still so young. I was just thrilled he was sleeping 6-8 hours straight at night and I wasn’t exhausted. He’d barely rolled over and aside from smiles, mostly wanted to be held. This summer I’ve gotten to watch my baby turn into a toddler. He wants to explore and learn. And yet, when he falls or turns around and doesn’t see me, he also comes running to me, arms open, tears forming. We’ve become practically joined at the hip (and some days almost literally as I carry him on my hip and when he doesn’t want down, man can his little legs grip).
I don’t want to take him to the sitter’s tomorrow. I know he’ll be fine, at least after I’m out of sight and the other little girl shows up to play. I know he’ll be thrilled to see me when I pick him up. I even know that I’m about to be really busy for the next nine months straight, and I won’t actually be able to think about the fact that I don’t have my little monkey man with me at all moments.
Tomorrow is a sad day for me. Not just because I have to get up at 5:30 and start commuting again. Not because I will have 75 new kids to get to know and never be able to teach them all I want to. Not even because working for my pittance of a salary will actually remind me just how much of a pittance it is. It’s going to be hard because it means seeing my son for only 4 1/2 hours each day. It means throwing dinner together so I lose even less of that time, doing the dishes after he’s in bed and trying to cram six hours worth of grading into two so that I can spend all my waking time with him.
I hate the idea that I’ll miss new words, no feats of daring and new foods he tries.
Is it too late to be a stay at home mom?