Slowing Down, Opening Up, and Showing Up at the Center

Today is the day. The day I wait for, beneath my skin, from the first day of school, from the moment the tail lights of morning carpool wink down the hill and away in the latter part of August.

Today my boys have their last day of school. They will come home, flushed and chattering from too much sugar, from goodbyes to friends and teachers, from the edgy restlessness of days of movies and classroom cleanup and field days and boredom. And over the next couple of weeks, they’ll be slipping their school skins, the slim toughness born of playground conflict and teasing and constant immersion in the jostling peer world. And my creative and tender boys will emerge. I’ll hear new stories of hurry and hurt from the school year past, I’ll hear the beginning of reflection. The slow drifting down of grace over the calendar pages flipped past.

Afternoons will stretch out beneath the ceiling fan, lemonade glasses sweating rings on tables as pages turn. I’ll read aloud chapter after chapter, and there will be time for the super messy art projects and the long recipes and legs flung over the arms of chairs. Driveway basketball in the mornings and family movie nights. Drives in the country and toe-curling icy rivers. Library summer reading and the rumble of the ice cream maker.

Of course, too, there will be boredom. The crucible of so much brother time will heat up now and again. This mamma will crave quiet and solitude and peace, in the middle of a marathon Monopoly game.

But these summers are numbered, while they’re mine, while they are as excited about today as I am. I’m deactivating my Facebook account for these jeweled months, and our schedule is a clothesline with only a few pins on it. But the camera batteries are charged, and the book basket is full, and the best popsicles are in the freezer.

So I’ll be in the driveway when the carpools pull up, do a crazy last day of school dance. We’ll eat cupcakes, and we’ll wash the backpacks and the lunchboxes, and hide them deep in the closet. And I’ll find myself right in the center of where I’m supposed to be.

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