Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Last Night of Summer

It’s the night before the first day of school.

We’re all very serious.


Jake yells for me from the stairs. I think a leg is broken by his level of shriek.

What?? I come running.

Does this map show the whole, entire world?




It’s really small. How do all the people in the world fit in it?

Good question.

Backpacks have been loaded, unloaded, checked and loaded again.

Except for Zachary. His teacher has already given an assignment. He’s not happy. It has to be bigger than 12 by 12 and smaller than 24 by 22, I say to him.

His face melts. This is more than he can deal with. How to shoot a bow and arrow? He’s there. Swim across a lake? Okay, he’ll try. 12 by 12? You have got to be kidding.

Hey, I said to him when he was having a fit, this isn’t second grade!

Oh. My. God. Did I say that? The big leagues. Third Grade. I am turning into a Newton parent. This is a scary moment for me. You are going to do this, you will do it well and there is no crying about it!

Okay, if I were a real Newton parent, I would do it myself and have my precious baby sign it. If I were a Weston parent, I would hire someone to do it AND sign it.

He ended up doing a great job. Tear stained face and all.

You have to try, I said to him.

He looked at me like I was the anti-Christ. Ooookay.

I called my wife, Jeanine, in the middle of it.


Um, okay, I was being a little high strung. I have never been the craft mom. I hate glue. I hate cutting things out. I’d rather throw a baseball or play tackle football in the mud. Just don't make me sew or help design a Jefferson Memorial replica out of marshmellows (see below. Ben's creation.I did not help. Jeanine sat and applied glue while Ben stacked. I simply carried it to school- no small task.) I'd rather sit through non-stop PTO meetings.

Currently, Jake is running around the house with a marker-

But mom, it’s washable-

Zachary is just out of the bathtub-

No, I didn’t wash my hair, Mom. I washed it last week-

And Ben is in the bathtub singing “Buttons” by the Pussy Cat Dolls.

It’s the night before school.

Edges are fraying as I type. Jake is crying. Ben tried to wash off the marker Jake got all over himself. In the process, soap soaked Jake’s pajama bottoms. Great indignity. Zachary is talking to his dads on the phone- such a middle child; he is discussing what special he’ll have at school tomorrow. Ben is talking about what he’s going to wear tomorrow. Dark jeans. Pizza is Greater than Veggies shirt.

I love September. I still feel the transition of school. It feels like a new year. January 1st has never meant much to me. But the day after Labor Day means new hope, new chances, new opportunity.

For me, today, I went to an investment committee meeting of a foundation where I serve on the Board of Directors. People respect me. Think highly of me. Value my opinion.

And when I said I had left my job, I was pulled aside by a fellow member and good friend. Here, she said, come with me.

She showed me to the ninth floor of the building. It was where her new office space for her foundation was. Each room was described and I oooed and ahhed. Then she showed me the last room. This is your office, she said.

It’s been a day since I’ve been out of work.


For you to write, she said. Temporarily. You need to be writing. I’ll charge you… she smiled, a lunch a week.

Deal, I said.

I was almost in tears.

One door closes. One door opens. People who believe in me surround me. I'm grateful. No, I'm blown away. I can't help but smile all the way home.

We sat at dinner tonight with candles that were almost to the end. I lit them all and said, just like summer, these candles are at an end…

And then everyone started digging into the pasta and grilled chicken and Caesar salad. I was having a profound moment of recognition. They were hungry. Jeanine and Weezie looked at me, kindly, waiting to start.

I laughed. Summer is over! I said. So much for ritual.

Let’s eat!

It's so corny but true. One door closed. I am sad for the loss. Someday, I will wake up and realize I haven't thought about it for a while. A day. And then a week will go by. I'll feel faint stirrings of sadness, loss. Slowly, I'll heal. Today, the bleeding stopped. In time, I'll only see the scar.

And another door has opened. I asked Ben today as we walked up to the school to check out his classroom, how do you feel about school tomorrow?

I’m a little afraid but mostly excited.

And you know I am feeling the same way. A little afraid… but mostly excited.

It's the last night of Summer. Let the new year begin.


Blogger jt said...


12:02 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

thank you

7:51 PM  

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