Trying to squeeze in one more week of a new summer camp before the school year starts might not have been my best move. Of course, at the time I made that decision, summer looked like a vast expanse of sweet freedom and opportunity, and this one week of Sport and Aquatics camp sat on the top like a shiny red cherry. So that’s how I got to be here, swimming in emails, visual schedules, thank you notes, 11-yr-old birthday party to-dos, registration materials and school supplies for the upcoming year, and my own grief over the loss of that sweet expanse of freedom.
Mixed with that grief, is the sense that my sons’ childhoods are pouring through my fingertips with careless abandon. The boys seem all legs now, where once little rounded pot bellies used to dwell. I can recall when they used to raise their arms above their heads to be picked up and their pudgy fingers would barely extend past their heads. Now they don’t ask to be picked up so much, though occasionally a sticky hand will still press into my palm, and I find myself gazing in awe at the very length of them as they lay in bed. I catch glimpses of manhood in the breadth of their shoulders and the blonde but increasingly ample hair sprouting from their calves. There is celebration in this too of course—their health, their humor, and their increasing sense of place in the world—but right now, I don’t feel like celebrating. I will cry and grieve and get down to the serious work of preparing for one more week of summer camp, and then…I’m gonna take the boys swimming. It is still summer after all.