Summer Song

Today is the first of June which means that in roughly ten weeks, my oldest daughter will begin her first year of public school. In our state, four year olds can go to (all day) Pre-Kindergarten, but they are not required to attend. Dacey has been talking about school non-stop for the past year, and so we are going to give it a try.

Ten weeks.

Two and a half months.

When we drive past the campus she’ll be attending, she sings out, “There’s my school!” and my eyes sting.

Ten weeks until our lazy mornings of snuggling on the couch in our jammies, crunching on breakfast cereal and watching Super Why are replaced with up-and-at-’em and where’s-your-backpack and no-you-cannot-wear-that-to-school-today.

Ten weeks until I lose my grocery store helper, my lunchtime chit-chatter, my afternoon craft partner. Of course, my younger daughter will fill-in as my constant sidekick, but for over four years, it’s been me and Dace – all day, every day.

Ten weeks.

I stand at the calendar and run my finger over all the empty squares. Nothing big planned. No summer camps. No family vacations. I start to hum.

I want to sing a slow song all summer long; something lazy, something dreamy. I want the days to lumber by in an unhurried, deliberate cadence of lightening bugs and sidewalk chalk and swimming pools and dandelions. I want to lean forward and listen hard to each note, memorizing the tones and pitches, drinking in the minor falls and the major lifts,* knowing that this is it.

When the morning bell rings on that first day, things will change. The shift might be gradual, but we’ll never be back in this place. The simple melody of the days I have shared with my daughter will grow complex when the sometimes sweet, sometimes strident harmonies of friends and teachers and school work and all that is necessary and needed in her walk toward independence begin to fill our days.

Over the weekend, I invited her to lay down for an afternoon nap with me. She stopped taking daily naps a year ago, but sometimes she’ll humor her old mom. As she drifted and drowsed, I watched her eyelids twitch and the corners of her mouth turn up in fleeting smiles, and for a few minutes, I could still see the face of that new baby I rocked and held and sang to for hours on end.

just yesterday . . .

Sing me a summer song
I’ll dance you right along
Bring out the spoons
Shake out the dancing rugs
We’ll hope like lightening bugs
On the first of June.

– – Rosemary Wells, Carry Me

Megan writes at both Simple Kids and SortaCrunchy and she may or may not have gotten up from the computer to sob a few times while writing this post. *She gives a  grateful nod to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for the phrase “minor fall and major lift.”
16 Responses to Summer Song
  1. Tiffany
    June 1, 2009 | 12:22 pm

    Aww, *hugs* I’ve been there mama. It’s sooo hard. They grow up so muc once they start school. My oldest is now 16, but I remember her fist day like it was yesterday.

  2. Melissa
    June 1, 2009 | 12:55 pm

    you know only these past few days i was thinking….next month I have to go back to work and leave ,my then 5 month old behind…am worried not that i am leavng him with his dad but that at the moment he only wants meals from my breast and is ignoring the bottle which he’s used since 1 month old. Selfishly probably I feel happy whenever he does that or cries and only calms on me….yet I want him to enjoy his time with daddy while I am at work and I don’t wish to worry that he won’t eat or cry himself to sleep and like you I know that when I walk out that door and go to work things will change maybe slowly…but surely they will!

  3. Mary Ann
    June 1, 2009 | 1:42 pm

    Oh my goodness. This made me very reflective and sad while reading. I don’t want these lazy days at home to ever end. It makes me really take a step back and remember to try to enjoy each moment rather than try to “survive.” Thanks for this great, great post!

  4. Katie ~ This Natural Life
    June 1, 2009 | 2:24 pm

    Oh, Megan, I am boo-hooing so hard right now. Thank you for such beautiful words.

  5. Elizabeth
    June 1, 2009 | 2:40 pm

    I remember that summer 5 years ago when my oldest was about to start school. And then again last year when my son was about to start. When the baby heads to school in 5 years I’m sure I’ll be a mess. Let’s enjoy our summer! I promise that although things will change, it’s going to be a fun time with many wonderful new memories.

  6. Becky
    June 1, 2009 | 3:38 pm

    You totally made me cry my eyes out just now. My daughter will be starting school this fall as well. Only she’ll be almost 6 when school starts, so I’ve had that much more time to have her constantly by my side, be my helper, my conversation partner during the day. I’ve known I’m not looking forward to the first day of school for a long time now, but I hadn’t stopped to think about it deeply enough to get to what you wrote. But what you wrote brought all those subconscious thoughts, and now I’m even more wishing that I could slow down time for just a little bit.
    My daughter’s so excited… and I’m so sad that the years have flown by so quickly.

  7. jill
    June 1, 2009 | 8:18 pm

    Goodness, Megan. WARN a person before you go and write something like THAT. You and D. are so very blessed to have each other. Joy to you, and slow slow moments, as you live out each second of this sweet season.

  8. Karen
    June 1, 2009 | 9:44 pm

    Ouch, ouch, ouch, my littlest is only 5 weeks old and like many momma’s of new babies I am tired. In the moments I think I want this to hurry along until he sleeps through the night, I remind myself that I will really miss this time. And I know that will be sooner than I could ever dream. Thank you for reminding me why being sleepless tonight is so precious and fleeting.

  9. Steph
    June 2, 2009 | 6:33 pm

    Love your writing, as usual, Megan! I wrote a much less eloquent piece today on my stepson and how in the blink of an eye he’s somehow graduating this weekend…


  10. Ellen
    June 4, 2009 | 9:49 am

    You captured EXACTLY what I am feeling this summer. Thank you for putting it into words! It is VERY bittersweet.

  11. Kelly
    June 5, 2009 | 2:27 pm

    Oh my word, Megan. I’ve had this bookmarked since Monday, and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

    My oldest daughter will be in THIRD GRADE this fall, which seems SO MUCH more grown-up than second grade. Second grade is still the beginning part of school. But third grade, is the middle part of elementary school, and I am not comfortable AT ALL with time moving as fast as it does.

    We have 12 weeks of summer, starting Monday. I’m going to positively wallow in it.

  12. Petula
    June 15, 2009 | 5:49 pm

    I have a “bunch” of transitioning children this year LOL: My oldest daughter is going to college (starting early in a scholar’s program over the summer), my 5 year old begins kindergarten this year and the 4 year old will be in kindergarten readiness at head start. Not too much of a transition for her since she was in 3 year old head start last year. The youngest one is crying at my legs as I type and, at this moment, I am looking forward to her going to school. 🙂 She goes to in-home daycare during the day.

    I understand what you mean though. Taking my oldest to her dorm and getting her settled in has probably been the biggest transition for me yet as a mommy.

  13. Marci
    November 9, 2009 | 4:07 am

    What beautiful writing.
    My youngest is 2 and I am already feeling bittersweet about many milestones because they seem all too fleeting.
    Writing definitely helps save memories though, and helps us to connect in many different ways.

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