Monday, August 11, 2008

My End of Summer

I am feeling quite restless. Summer is coming to an end. And even though I am 43 and am not going to be starting school in a couple of weeks, nor are any of my children, I still have that same feeling in the pit of my stomach that I always had as a child, when summer's end was nearing. What is it that is causing this empty, gurgling feeling? Well, when I was a kid my mom would have chalked it up to a fear of the unknown. And that was certainly true, when I was a child. While my friends could hardly wait to wear their new clothes and show off their new lunch boxes - my mind would race with worry over ever minor detail...where would I be dropped off? where would I sit? where was my class? Yuck!

But why am I feeling so restless now? What am I afraid of? Of course, when I was a kid, once it all started (school), I was fine. And then my favorite season would slowly emerge from the anxiety. Fall would change the unknown from something frightening into something exciting - I don't know why. Fall just always seemed so full of endless possibilities, awakenings, stirrings... anticipation of good things to come.

Fall is still my favorite season. As soon as the first breeze kicks in and the leaves start falling I get all of those feelings rushing in. I want to start cooking, making things, reading things, going places and having fun. Yet I cling to summer. And I have the empty, grumbling stomach thing going - trimmed with anxiety and uncertainty. But why?

I think I have figured it out. Any minute my end of summer will emerge from her bedroom. She is still sleeping, after a busy and exhausting weekend that included a birthday party full of teenagers.

Ellie is my end of summer.

Tomorrow she turns 16.

All of these changes are coming. The carefree summer that seemed so endless at its beginning, is coming to an end. It has slipped through my fingers. I would like to go back to the beginning of summer and do all of the things I had planned on doing, but didn't get around to. I'd like to go and re-live the bad days, and make them happy. I know I wouldn't waste a minute if I could only do it all again. But of course, I can't. And the season is petering out, slipping away from me....childhood summer slinking into the past.

The end of summer feels like a loss. Something new will take its place - but I'm not sure what it will be like. Where will I go? What will I do? Who will I be, when summer is over?

Ellie does not share my melancholy mood. If she is mourning her disappearing childhood, I see no signs. She is looking forward to everything coming up. She doesn't have new clothes or a lunchbox - but she has herself and all of her endless possibilities. She's looking forward to every day. And I am grateful for that, but also filled with anxiety over every little unknown thing.

So I'll just keep holding on tight to summer, while trusting that when fall comes, the anxiety will disappear. It will be replaced by the thrill of endless possibilities.

Tomorrow she turns 16...

Sardine Mama


  1. wow miss carol, that was so beautiful! i think that's been one of your best posts so far.

  2. You've got me all teary eyed. And just recently I was lamenting that my oldest is going to be 8 already next month. I can't imagine what it will be like when he turns 16....