According to the calendar, Summer isn’t officially over until September 21. But for me, the Labor Day weekend has always signaled the end of summer. Public swimming pools close, all the kids are back in school, and although the days remain warm (or even hot), they are shorter and followed by cooler nights. And the flowers that bloomed all summer long begin to look faded and worn, as if they know that the first frost isn’t all that far away.
Some years I’m more than ready for Fall, but not this year. This year the summer went by way too fast, and we had so many unseasonably cool days that I barely got to wear most of my summer clothes. If I had my way, we’d be celebrating the 4th of July this weekend, not Labor Day. But I don’t get my way on such things, and Fall is coming whether I like it or not. So all I can really do is think back on the last three months and be grateful for all the good memories they brought.
I’m grateful for the short trips we took to visit old friends who we don’t see nearly often enough. I’m glad that I have finally figured out that good friends are worth the time and effort it takes to stay in touch, no matter how far away they live. I may not be getting any smarter as I age, but I am doing much better when it comes to getting my priorities straight.
I’ll remember the cool nights my husband and I ate dinner out on our patio, which is rare in St. Louis’ usually hot and humid summers. I’ll remember that this was the summer we finally painted the ugly-colored brick on our house an attractive shade of grey. For the first time in over twenty years, I drive up to my house and think, “Wow! That looks nice!”
I’m grateful that I got the chance to host my mom’s 87th birthday party so that she could celebrate with some of her family and friends. So many of my friends have lost their moms in recent years, and I know that they would give anything to be able to have them around for just one more family gathering. When I was young, I tended to take my parents for granted (as young people do) thinking that they would always be around when I finally decided to make time for them. Now I know better.
But mostly, I will always remember that this is the summer that I learned that we will be welcoming a grandson into our family in a few months. Becoming a grandmother will be a huge and wonderful change in my life, and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the reality that my daughter is going to have a baby of her own. To say I’m excited for the arrival of my first grandchild would be an understatement.
So this Labor Day, there is a part of me that is not quite ready to let go of summer and that wishes Fall would hold off just a little while longer. But I also know that the changing seasons mirror the changing phases of my life, and that they mostly bring good things. A mere three years ago, my immediate family consisted of only four people. Two weddings later, it has grown to six, and soon there will a seventh member of our family. And that’s a change I wouldn’t trade for the world.