The calendar lies. It says there are 2 ½ weeks left before autumn begins, yet everyone knows the unofficial end of summer is upon us.
Labor Day weekend always seems to creep up on me out of nowhere. I love summer and I hate to see it come to an end. And even though I know that we will fit in a few more beach days over the next month, there is something very depressing about the weekend.
The kids seem especially tormented as they dread their return to school. Even new backpacks and school clothes can't seem to soften that reality. As I watch them walk around sulking, I can't help but envision one of those Eeyore-like rain clouds above their heads, following them everywhere they go.
It's even worse this year with my daughter's concussion symptoms lingering. The doctors have restricted any activity, so she is on the verge of tears as she bemoans her bad luck and the intensely boring way she is spending the last days of summer vacation. So while her friend is at the beach on this final day, she is spending a beautiful day inside doing nothing but resting. I feel bad. The end of summer came for her about 4 ½ weeks ago.
"I can't believe school starts tomorrow," my 11-year-old whined. "Summer vacation can't be over," he cried, as though the end crept up on him too. He went on, "No more staying up late. Can't we just skip school? Can't I just quit school altogether?" One time, I recall him asking me if attending high school is mandatory.
I feel his pain. I can't help but wonder if work is mandatory. Unfortunately, until I hit the lottery or retirement age (whichever comes first), it is. And my vacation is over too. I mope as I think about all of the things I didn't get done this summer and all of the things that I still need to do. I'm miffed that summer injuries to my knee and calf hampered my goal of losing 15 pounds. I am sickened as I am reminded that my commute to work will once again include a caravan of school buses getting in my way and doubling my commute time. And, how can I forget the pain of the nightly homework battle that comes every school year.
Now, I like to think that I am a glass-half-full kind of gal. So, when I start to feel these summer time blues, I remind myself of the things about September and autumn, in general, that I like, maybe even get a little excited about.
I'm pretty excited about the best-kept-locals-secret which is the September beach day. Temperatures are generally still cooperative this time of year and the beaches are less crowded. Year-round shore residents delight in it. In addition, the end of the tourism season brings less traffic and the possibility of dining out on a Saturday night without a reservation.
Sports this time of year are also very exciting. And, as it happens, I am a huge sports fan. My favorite tennis grand slam event, The U.S. Open, is winding down, and finals weekend is just around the corner. Right about the same time, football season starts which turns Sundays in my house into an all-day pigskin affair. And soon thereafter America's Favorite Pastime commences playoffs - thrill of late if you are a Phillies fan.
The fall season also brings with it a much more tolerable climate. I don't care much for intense heat and humidity, and this summer was especially challenging in that regard. So I look forward to the cooler, crisp air, and the smaller electric bills, that are to come. I also love the fall foliage and will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the autumn colors while waiting behind those stopped school buses. In an effort to teach my kids to appreciate the colors of the season we will go hiking through the woods and I will challenge them to find the prettiest leaves.
Writing this article, turns out, has been rather therapeutic. I'm reminded that as the end-of-summer blues start to dissipate, they will be replaced by hues of orange, yellow, and red. And I am encouraged as I recall all of the different reasons why I look forward to the change of seasons.