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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Farewell Beloved Summer

Three, four years ago, maybe, another labor day weekend at the Jersey Shore. C and I were still together but I came to Jersey to visit my mother alone. That last Sunday night of summer, before I had to pack up to return to New York and I loaded Eliza into the car around dusk, driving south just looking for the perfect playground, the perfect place to say good-bye to this wonderful summer.

But I never found it. I did find an odd playground with a spaceship like structure. It was practically dark by then but that didn't stop me from getting her out of the car, from dragging her through the playground to dig out one last memory of my favorite season that always goes by too fast.

Oh the heat gets to me and the summer tourist crowds. The mosquito bites, the sand in the diapers, the sunscreen that seems to go on like Elmer's glue: oh it all gets to me. Summer is far from perfect. But there's nothing better like the sheer joy of just slipping a pair of sandals onto your child's feet. There's no pesky sox to match, no jackets to wrestle on. the days are long and the nights cool and fragrant.

Like every summer, I've wrestled to enjoy every last drop. Going outside to chase fireflies, evening walks to the beach, tea parties on the back porch, pitchers of ice tea and visits to every ice cream shop: I've done it all. There are a few things we didn't get to; another trip to Six Flags, Storybook Land, the water park in Colts Neck. But this week I did manage to cross "picnic" and "outdoor movie" off my list.

This summer's end is particularly bittersweet. I'm going back to work full-time. Tonight I tucked my girls in for the last time this week. Tomorrow, I'll take them to my father's while I head up to New York for the night. We won't be finished until after the girls are in bed and we'll start long before they wake up. It's likely that I won't see them awake until Saturday. The weekend will fly by and then Monday starts the cycle all over again. I tell myself this is what I have to do in order to pay the rent and have health insurance. I'm lucky in this economy to have work that pays well enough and allows me the beauty of a summer at home with my daughters. I like the people I work with and often times we have a lot of fun. It will be good to be around adults, to leave work at the end of the day.

But still, I feel like the air is being sucked out of me, like the world is ending with this summer. Hi ho, hi ho, I hope I can do this.

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