I took my little Emily and Matt to school today. After such a wonderful summer, it was hard to say goodbye to them at the classroom door. Baby Ben and I are left behind, our little four-some broken up for nine and a half months before the school bell rings one last time to signal the start of another summer.
I will miss hanging out at Fairfield Beach with them, pulling starfish off the rock revetment and catching brine shrimp in a seine. No more going to the dairy barn to watch the cows be milked or a calf be born. Do you know how much like sandpaper a calf’s tongue feels? No more flying kites in the cornfields or walking in the woods, listening to the creatures stir. No more hearing my children laugh with summer sounds as they play with the neighborhood kids.
Now they will be sitting in four-walled classrooms, in structured rows, the spontaneous joy of summer left behind. When they return at the end of the day, they will have lessons to do, tests to study for, the ease of summer all but forgotten.
Baby Ben and I will take walks to the student union at the university so he can have his cheese egg for breakfast, then walk past the chapel so he can say good morning to Jesus. We will still walk to the library, returning with a stack of books we read together on the sofa, crying as the dog in the story dies, then reading the story again and crying some more. I will savor this time for he soon will be joining his brother and sister and this time will never come again.
Oh, wait! That was thirty years ago. Sigh! A mother never forgets how it feels.