It started as I got my first glimpse of the school this morning. I thought it was odd, since I was at school yesterday and Friday, and the week before. But today was the first day of school, and the feeling started.
At first I thought it was the typical bittersweet feeling. Boo is getting older, and although I love who she is now, and I'm proud of her, and I know she'll have a great year, I miss my little(r) girl, my toddler, my baby.
But it persisted a little bit throughout the day as I was making invitations and prototypes for Boo's upcoming Harry Potter birthday party.
And then, when I was walking Wonderdog through the park I passed a small child hanging from a chin-up bar. He was shouting to his mom that he wanted to hang there for ten minutes, and she was explaining how long that would feel, and they were just discussing things, hanging out in the playground.
I remembered how lonely the playground used to feel at this time every year. One day the playground and the pool beside it would be packed with kids, and the next day they'd all be at school, and Boo and I would be left to play quietly by ourselves, without being bombarded by the big kids. It always made me a little bit sad.
And that's when I realized that I'm not sad because Boo is getting older, not really. I'm sad because summer is over. Today I took a vacation day so that we could spend time together on her first day of school. She had a half day, so it was easier to take the day off than to try and arrange someone else to pick her up, but also I really wanted to spend this day with her. We went out for ice cream and delivered her party invitations before she got involved in homework and projects and playing with Neighbor. It was nice. And I was the first one to hear all about her first day of school, which is important to me.
But after today, I'll be at work four days a week, and I won't hear about things until dinner time. I know, it's not like I'm moving to another city, and Boo is in fourth grade, which means she can handle staying for after-care sometimes when Hopper has to stay late at his school to do Teacher stuff, and the rest of the time she'll be with her dad. But it's a change for us. I won't be picking her up from school. I won't be around for homework time.
And summer is over. No more vacations. No more pool. No more hanging out in the evenings with no homework to worry about. No more fireflies. No more barbecues.
I know a lot of parents are happy that school has started. I guess I am too, in a way, because I know that Boo was getting bored having had no activities for the past two weeks. And Boo had a great first day of school and I'm looking forward to all she'll do this year. And I like my job and will be doing rewarding things there. But I'm sad that we're getting back to the grind, sad that we'll be spending less time together doing nothing.