Thursday, September 4, 2014

Goodbye Summer Vacation.

Things are a changin' round here.  You can feel it all around.  The days are getting shorter...my beloved sunshine not popping out from behind the Bridgers until much later in the morning and then making an early exit in the evening.  The air no longer feels of summer warmth but more of fall chill.  
And a big one...school began this week.

We knew it was coming yet it still seemed to sneak up on us.  I'm never quite ready for another school year to start...it makes it so evident that they are growing up.  Ava is in fourth grade this year, I mean come on!  This is ridiculous.  I can remember like it was yesterday standing in line with her for kindergarten...her a bundle of nerves with a brave face, me hiding my tears behind my sunglasses...talking about the matching hearts I drew on our hands with markers to remember each other throughout the day...
And now she walks in like she owns the school.  No tears or apparent nervousness from either of them.  I love this...their confidence and ability to do these things bravely on their own.  It just breaks my heart a bit as I am needed less and less.  I suppose these steps are all to prepare us for one day when they actually, gulp, leave the nest for good.  These little day flights are simply practice.  They return at the end of each day with chatter of their adventures away but are tucked back into the safety of our home by evening.  These flights will get longer and longer over the years, preparing us for the day they pack up and leave for real.  Oh, Lord...I need to stop before I become a sappy mess.  

Needless to say our back to school routine went the same as usual.  The girls were sad to see vacation end but happy to see their friends again.  I was sad to see them go but knew it was time for new routines.  Change it up.  But first we had a few things to cross off our last week of summer bucket list.  

Things like going to the splash park one more time...

Pool party with cousins...
This ended up not only being the last pool party of the season but also the last of the pool.  Five big kids in there was apparently too much as it popped mid-play.  At least it held out until the end of summer.

On my end of summer bucket list was one more hike and picnic with my girls and we sure found the perfect picnic spot...

Hiking in the fall is actually pretty awesome around here so there will be more hikes in our future.  In fact I really want to try some snow hiking this winter.  I think part of the reason I get in such a winter slump is because I need to be in the mountains.  The girls are older now so I plan on bundling everyone up and at least giving it a try.  I know I can convince this family with the promise of hot cocoa.  

That last week of summer vacation we crammed a lot in.  Wanting to soak up every last morsel.  We said no to nothing.  When neighbors called with a last minute invite for a dinner picnic up Hyalite, we didn't even hesitate...thoughts of summer is ending, do it.  The very next night we did the same thing but with different friends and at a different location.  Same type of thoughts...it may be work, but we gotta, summer is ending.  Doing so much there was a small part of me that began to look forward to the calm down of the fall months.  I do believe each season has its purpose and fall for me is slowing down.  Taking a breath.  But I will miss these carefree, no bedtime, fun with friends evenings...

Usually Labor Day is our final farewell to summer, however this one felt more like a welcoming of fall.  The air was chilly and there was plenty of rain.  As much as I wanted to we decided against camping.  As I felt the chill each night I was very happy with this decision.  We still tried to do summer things.  All ended with us soaking wet.  A hike and picnic Saturday was going beautifully and suddenly the clouds changed and opened up and dumped on us.  By the time we reached the car all of us were soaked to the bone.  Yes, I was very thankful we weren't returning to a tent that night but to the warmth of my parents river house.  The next day, as if we didn't get enough the prior day, we went for a float on the river only to be poured on again.  Not much you can do sitting in a raft on a slow moving river with the wind and rain going against you.  Just laugh.  That's what you can do.  Laugh at the situation and know you would dry and warm up soon.  

It wasn't the ideal way to kiss our summer goodbye, but what can you do.  You remember the little moments of the weekend when the sun poked out and blessed you with its warm rays.
You stick your feet in the cold creek and feel happy to be out in nature...
You watch little girls, imaginations flurrying with the sandy beach we played on...
And, you sit back with your favorite book you're reading for the hundredth time and enjoy...
Yes, that is how you say goodbye to summer vacation.  You just do it, despite the weather because it deserves a proper send off.  After all it was so very good to us.  

I know it doesn't officially end for a few more weeks so I won't start mourning the end of summer quite yet.  There's a bit more to soak in and I intend to do so.


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