The End

It’s a bittersweet day today.

It’s my son’s last day of fourth grade. Tomorrow is my daughter’s last day of preschool. Until September, both of them will be home all day, every day. And as much as I love both kids, I know I will look longingly at September, and a return to quiet times for creative work.

Until then, we have a busy summer planned. J has signed up for the summer reading program, which earned him a Portland Timbers ticket. There is a lovely park in front of the library, and it seems the county has a full summer planned of clown lessons, craft days, and movie nights. We will probably go to at least a few of those.

We have a camping trip at the Southern Oregon coast planned with Velah and her son. I’m looking forward to being at the beach and letting the kids run feral.

I have my usual  rush of canning and preserving, harvesting and gardening. I have my personal vacation in July. We have July Fourth and the usual BBQ and fireworks party.

There is GearCon and Renaissance Festivals and birthdays and anniversaries and, hopefully, long hot lazy days by a pool or hiking a river. Magical summer nights with a fire in the backyard and beers and marshmallows.

Lil D has learned so much this year, and grown so tall and strong. She writes her name and cracks senseless jokes and can count and do a little addition. She has friends… and not just the children of people I want to spend time with. Little girls – and one boy- with whom she has made her own special bond. Ties that will see her through the rest of her school years, whether for good or for ill, and possibly people she will know for the rest of her life.

Jay is turning into a sweetly sensitive soul, deeply introverted like me, and with a cuttingly sharp sense of humor. This year he was flagged as a gifted kid, and for the rest of his school career, his teachers have to work with that designation. At this point, he reads more than I do, and he’s grown to where he can look me in the eye, and knock me over with his hugs. He’s such an amazing little man.

There is a part of this mama’s soul that wants to hold them tight and keep them small forever, but most of me celebrates this growth. I love to see the light that is them grow stronger, get brighter. I love to watch interests develop and become passions. I love to hear them make these connections and watch their minds and bodies stretch. I wonder where they will end up, five, ten, twenty years from now. They are turning into people I would choose to spend time with… I wonder if they will continue to be such as they get older.

And I think of Lil D, the other day.

“Mama?” she said. “I figured something out. They taught me this in school. You can be whatever you want to be. Just don’t be mean about it.”

I think she’ll be ok.

Sound asleep last summer, at the hotel in Anaheim

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