The End of Summer Blues
The blues of summer ending have a different meaning than they did when I was in my teens and twenties, but this summer has been particularly tough and heartbreaking.
For five years we were the stay at home family. My youngest daughter was finishing high school, while we potty-trained my son. Days were spent writing, while my wife and son played, gardened, and watched sunsets while blowing bubbles on our back porch. This was it, this was the perfect life.
My daughter graduated from high school a year ago and went away from college and four became three, but we were still happy, and they often traveled with me on my writing adventures across the country. They ate In and Out Burger for the first time in California, sang on an elevator in the Lego® Hotel in Orlando, looked out at giraffes from our porch in the Animal Kingdom® Resort Hotel, and laid on top of a van, looking at the stars at night in the cool desert of Joshua Tree Park.
We squeezed everything we could out of our fairy tale life, but unfortunately, we could not hold back the hands of time or the realities of life.
As we neared August this year, we knew our wanderlust family was about to change, and we were saddened. Our son is five, so he would be attending school, and now for the first time in almost six years my wife was going back to work.
The home once filled with laughter, silly songs, and midnight margaritas on a Tuesday night, is now silent for most of my waking hours. In the vacuum that was created are planned dinners, making lunches, and living by a sleeping schedule. I now wear the moniker of stay at home dad, and at the end of the day, I do not know who is most excited to hear my wife roll up the driveway, me or my dogs.
It is a huge shift, and a sad goodbye to summer nights and a life only filled with what can we do next. Now it is school meetings, hard days at work for my wife, and rolling up to my son’s school after what seems like an eternity to pick up in the afternoons, equipped with a snack and drink for the ride home. I don’t want my son to grow up and learn about his ABC’s, I want him to sit in wonder as we read him a story at night about magical lands with happy endings. I know these things are not real, and like Jackie Paper, from the song Puff the Magic Dragon–
The absence of sound is palpable. The only things I hear are the snores of our dogs as they conserve their energy for late afternoon reunions. It is almost as if I were merely a specter haunting my own house, floating from one daily task to another. On the walls are pictures of my family, alongside the masterpieces my son has drawn.
This transition to a new life has taught me to appreciate all the time I have with my family- every single moment. I am a Type-A personality, and I can get easily submerged in my work during every waking moment, but I have realized that the time with my family is what truly fulfills me. We have created new rules about devices when we are together, whether it is going to a store, having dinner or just sitting around watching a movie. My family is the foundation – every accomplishment falls flat if I cannot share it with my family, and when it benefits them, it is all the sweeter.
A person can make more money but no one can create more time. This last summer of innocence, and freedom I will always cherish, and while I loved my life then, I love my new life now and look forward to more memories I will create with those I love most.
Take a moment and schedule time with your family, especially you Type-A’s out there. Mark it down like other important meetings and activities in your day. Put down the devices and just BE with your loved ones. Life can change so fast and there is no way to make up lost time.