Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Waning Summer and Rising Panic

I know. Summer’s short all over the world, but when you live in a place like Minnesota it seems particularly fleeting. We have a lot of outdoor living to cram into the three very brief months. So every August, or at least since my oldest child started in kindergarten thirteen years ago, it’s been the same thing for me. I panic. My mind buzzes with all that I should have been doing in June and July. Summer’s coming to a close and I haven’t done as much as I’d wanted to do with the kids or on house and yard projects.

This summer’s been a particularly difficult one for me to cram things in because I had a book deadline and a daughter with one foot—who am I kidding?—one leg—oh, all right—all but her little pinky finger firmly out our front door. Now I’m faced with only one week before my son heads back to junior high and my daughter prances off to her freshman year of college.

I have to admit, that looming college thing makes these remaining few days all the more bittersweet. With my daughter wanting to spend every last minute she can with the friends she won’t see for several months, I’m all but chopped liver. I’m afraid the only time I can hope to share with her will be short and hopefully sweet. Maybe one more family dinner with her favorite meal or at her favorite restaurant. Possibly one more shopping excursion for those last minute dorm room supplies.

So I’m at a bit of a loss. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to make this last week at home with my college-bound daughter special? How can we send her off with a smile on her face and courage in heart?

Time with my son will be less harried. Although he heads back to school next week, we'll have several more weekends before the weather turns nasty. Still, I'm curious. Does anyone else share this same end-of-the-summer panic, or am I'm an obsessive loon?

What are some things you make it a point to fit in over summer, with or without kids?



Betina Krahn said...

Helen, I am so there with you. I remember exactly what it was like to do the last week and "move in" at college. I don't have much advice-- both of my boys were pretty focused on friends and football and not given to sweet times with mom and dad.

I guess, I'd try scheduling a day shopping or some spa time with her. Or maybe a drive to her favorite park, during which you two could talk-- get kids in a car and it's like truth serum, they can talk their heads off.

On the other hand-- my guys' show of independence made it a little easier to drop them off and get it over with. Probably saved us both some tears.

Just do what feels right to you. And look at it this way-- you're not losing a summer, you're gaining a "fall"! Make plans to decorate the house, visit an apple orchard, clean out the closet and put away the whites, go shopping for some new boots! Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.

Helen Brenna said...

You're so right about the independence thing. She's soooo ready to go that it does make it easier to let go.

I love fall too. Good idea to look forward!!

Christie Ridgway said...

I can never believe it's August. It seems like just yesterday it was th 4th of July...with weeks stretching ahead!

Lots of families with kids leaving for college around me. Does it help to remember this was what all the hard work was for? All that homework checking?

Also, that she'll have a glorious time!

Helen Brenna said...

Yes, Christie, it does help to think this was all that hard work was for, but then I start wondering what kind of job I did as a parent. Second guessing all kinds of stuff.

I'm all for glorious times, as long as they're not too glorious! LOL

Dara Edmondson said...

My oldest started college this week. Thankfully, he's living home. But what a strange feeling that he's really a grownup now. My heart goes out to you.
My mom took me on several day trips to Long Island the week before I left for school. We explored the interesting things in our own area we'd never taken the time to before. It was nice one-on-one time I'll always remember.

Cindy Gerard said...

Helen - I remember that time our little bird left the nest. He was so ready. We thought we were too - but it was DH and I who watched him pull out of the drive ahead of us the day we moved him to the dorm who sat and cried because it was so hard to believe he was really going. We adjusted and so did he. Then he came home - and we cried again because we had enjoyed our independence :o)
Never the less, do some girl things. How about a day at a spa together? Get massages, facials, manicures and pedis. You'll both remember it and smile.

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks Dara. Some day I think I would like to take a trip just the two of us. Maybe next year. I'll have to think of somewhere she's dying to go!

Cindy, yep, I think there'll be a few unexpected tears. On both accts. I hear you!

She does like manis and pedis. I'll see if she's game.