It is dark at 8pm. How is that possible? I wonder, when a month ago the sun didn’t set until after 8:30. The air has the scent of September and the afternoons are cool. I need a sweatshirt to go outside after dinner. Stores are already advertising “back to school.” It is not even Labor Day, yet.
I know what all of this means: the end of summer.
In some ways, I am ready. I am sick of wet bathing suits and sandy towels. I want my daughter on a routine. I want to be on a routine. The sunscreen is how I always know: when I can no longer deal with rubbing it all over myself and my daughter every time we go outside, I am ready to say goodbye to summer.
Transition is never easy, but it is a way of life. The day after the June summer solstice, the daylight hours start to become shorter. The change is barely perceptible in the summer months, with the long hot days and sticky nights. But, little by little the days shorten until suddenly it is the end of August and fall is around the corner.
There have been other discernible changes lately. These last few weeks, my daughter has been swimming every day. She jumps into the deep end, allowing her whole head to go beneath the surface before she pops back up and grabs onto the side.
“Watch this mom!” she calls out, and then submerges her face into the water while blowing bubbles. She pulls her head up, her wet face in a big smile.
In June, my daughter would not go near a pool. She had no interest in swimming or floating or being anywhere near the water. I could barely coax her into the baby pool. By July, she would reluctantly go into the pool if I held her. Every day, she became just a tiny bit bolder until she was swimming across the pool with her yellow floaties.
And now, in late August, she asks to go swimming every day, to jump into the deep end, to float on her back – anything that gets her in the pool. Even though the afternoons have turned chilly, she never complains about being cold. Getting her out of the pool is usually a fight. “I just want to keep swimming” she protests.
This change in her did not happen overnight. She slowly became comfortable with the pool and her abilities, on her own time. She changed little by little.
When change happens slowly, it is nearly imperceptible, until one day, it is glaringly obvious. This is what has happened with summer, which is suddenly over. But instead of resisting it, I am trying to remind myself that change is always a good thing. All I have to do is close my eyes and picture my three-year old jumping into the deep end of the pool to know that this is true.