When my daughter was young, the start of the school year was difficult for both of us. All summer we had slept in, read, played, dinked around, and generally had a great time together. As Willow has gotten older, I have taken on more responsibilities outside of child rearing including fiction and freelance writing, teaching, and volunteering on the PTA board. Since she started middle school, I work most summer weekdays but she gets one “fun day” per week where she picks an activity that we do together. It’s a good compromise but not the same, though we still enjoy a good sleep-in.
Yesterday she started 8th grade and I am left to wonder where the time has gone and how I kept my sanity this summer. I remember the sense of loss and anxiety I felt as she went off for her first day of Kindergarten and I wonder where the time went. When did she get so smart, talented, confident, and beautiful and how did I survive a summer with this same teenager who is figuring out her place in the world and driving me crazy in the process?
She was ready to go back to school this week and I was ready for her to go. I have freelance writing commitments and my next manuscript absolutely, positively has to be turned into my publisher by mid-November. I have PTA committees to oversee and classes to teach starting in September. My mother and I are going to Bouchercon in October and I’ll be helping a friend run some art booths at a few shows. I want to spend time with friends, especially the Moms’ night out crew, Jodi, and Stephanie. Steph and I were roommates in Chicago and she moved down here this spring. Given my crazy schedule I haven’t been able to spend much time with her but hopefully that will change now that school is back in session.
Actually, I am hoping several things will happen now that school has started again. I plan to create and stick to a stringent writing schedule, keep the house clean, make healthy and flavorful meals, exercise at least three days per week, and, as long as I’m fantasizing, lose 20 pounds and shave off a few years while eating tons of chocolate. A woman can dream.
The odd thing is that in Georgia, for those of us with kids, we are asking ourselves, “Where did the summer go?” People without kids or who live in other parts of the country, look at us like we’re crazy and say, “What are you talking about? It’s still August.”
How is your summer going?
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