Summer’s End

Didn’t we just look at the calendar and it was the beginning of July? At this rate, it will be Christmas before I finish this. The quickly approaching end of summer brings some mixed feelings for me. My  daughter heads back to Sudbury in a few weeks to complete her final year of high school. We’ve taken the time to visit some of the ghost towns nearby. We enjoy exploring some of Ontario’s abandoned villages, it’s quite the trek through history.  I know of some fantastic books on the various ghost towns that dot our province so if you’re in the market for some, come on by and check them out. 

When I was younger, the dwindling summer days meant the slow realisation that my time at the cottage would soon be coming to an end. I wax poetic about the cottage a lot. I realise how lucky I was to have such a place. Behind several elderly cedars with its white cedar shakes and blue gabled roof, it was simply where I was happiest. 

 I spent many a summer climbing trees, exploring, reading and watching as storms made their way across wild and craggy Lake Huron. Some nights the wind rushed through the cedars so wildly that to my childlike imagination it sounded like a ship’s bell pealing through the darkness trying to find an answering call to let them know there was a safe refuge. Or a lost mariner (with his parrot because all mariners have to have a parrot) looking to find a place to rest their weary bones. 

For parents, the end of summer is a transition.  We go through clothes to see what fits, we start looking for missing items and we hope that we don’t need to call a HAZMAT team to figure out what is at the bottom of a long discarded backpack. Somewhere along the line we remember the  school supply list that was tacked up on the corkboard, stuck to the fridge, or in my case one year, behind the TV stand (I still don’t know how it got behind there). We label all the things and then more of the things hoping they come home each day.  Some people use whiteboards or planners to stay organised for school, appointments, extracurriculars and other incidentals. We have a variety of really beautiful planners and other organisational aids, so please stop by if you’re curious. 

Some kids are off for their first days of kindergarten. They are off on new adventures. I can remember my kids walking into school, and me promising myself no tears. I lost the battle.  In a welcome to kindergarten package they handed out to parents when both my kids started school there was a wonderful book called THE KISSING HAND. I still can not make it to the end of it.  Chester Racoon is worried about going to school. He worries he’s going to miss his Mama. So, Mama kisses Chester’s little paw and says when you’re scared, look at your paw and remember that Mama loves you. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but, if you come into the store and ask for THE KISSING HAND, you’ll see why I can’t make it to the end. 

Some kids are off to their final years of high school. They’ve weathered the uncertainty of homeschooling, exams, projects, they’ve made lifelong friends and are ready for their next steps. A friend’s mom once said  there are few things that go by faster than the four years of high school. She was not wrong. Transitioning from elementary school to high school and then from high school to university can be daunting but there are books that can help with the transition. 

I grew up in Toronto, the high school I elected to go to was quite a distance from my house and involved bus and subway rides that totalled more than thirty minutes. One year I experienced the phenomenon of frozen hair. That was rather unpleasant. Another year, I decided, with a friend, to test the velocity of a phone call to one’s mother by testing the velocity of a rolling chair down a straight hallway. Unfortunately, for me, said chair, and the principal, the chair reached the end of the hallway just as he rounded the corner. There was no manual on how to stop a rolling chair. If there was, I imagine it would have been written by HELP. I CAN’T STOP THIS THING. If you’re wondering about the velocity of the phone call, let’s just say I am pretty sure my mother learned to teleport from her job….as a teacher. 

There’s a finality to the phrase “the last fleeting days of summer”  It speaks to the fall, the cooler weather, and the flurry of organisation that takes place during those last few days.  I hope you all have had a fantastic summer.  And everyone has a wonderful first day of school. But don’t test the velocity of a rolling chair down a straight hallway.

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