Celebrate Monday... Celebrate the last days of Summer... Celebrate the start of something new!

For many of our children, and for many of us, this Monday marks not only the beginning of a new day, and new week but a New Year. Today is the first day of school. There's excitement, as children look forward to getting back to their friends. There's trepidation, as many children are starting school for the first time or are embarking on the journey to a new high school or college. And there's elation, as parents all around rejoice to have some semblance of normalcy, structure and rhythm to their daily routines again... And then we'll remember how we've forgotten about the craziness of our lives with the advent of sports and all the other extra-curricular activities, followed by hours of homework late into the night... And before we know it we will all secretly be wishing for the restful days of summer to return! We'll be wishing that we didn't have to be at three different locations at once, and we'll be wishing to spend less time rushing, and less time driving and less time and less money at the gas pump! Ah, be careful of what we wish for, they say. And indeed it is true!

My youngest one starts school on Thursday. (The point of starting so late in the week? I am not entirely sure!) My older two start the following Wednesday, after Labor Day, as all schools should start.

For all my whining and bellyaching, begging, pleading, wishing for school to start, I am the first to admit that I am not entirely ready to let my littlest one go. I could keep him home with me for a few more weeks. My older two desperately need to go back. They need their friends. They need structure. They need to step away from their computers, iPads, iPhones, DSs... I'll allow the Kindles. They need to create and interact and use their brains. If you have teens you will understand. They are a completely different beast. They do not engage themselves in play the way the little ones do. They don't pick up games, or Legos or arts and crafts - unless I force them to do so, and even still the results are iffy at best.

My littlest one still plays. I love watching him at play. He can play with Legos or his cars or his army men for hours on end. He can take an old fashioned teeter-tauter and decorate it with different colored electrical tape so that, in the end, it looks like something that could have been created by Piet Mondrian. Or he'll grab a bucket of buttons, a glue gun (under my supervision) and completely cover an old pickle jar with colorful buttons of all sizes and shapes - We're still on the hunt for a perfect candle to place inside. He creates menus... he's wildly creative. He'll go outside and kick a ball around, or blow bubbles, or draw on the driveway with chalk. These are all the things my older two did when they were little but seem to have forgotten how... or seem to have lost interest... or simply, have just grown up...I'm not quite ready to let this child go... Summer is for little children... the excitement of seeing a firefly for the very first time in the season, for catching it in a jar, for building sandcastles, chasing butterflies, catching frogs...

Today, we will spend our day traipsing through Target, CVS and Staples locating all the items on our back to school lists... A grown-up treasure hunt, if you will, with items so esoteric we'll scratch our heads as we walk down aisles locating a certain type of zippered accordion folder that seems not to exist here on earth. We'll be loading up our carts with papers, pens, pencils, composition notebooks, two pocket folders, and loose-leaf binders. I will be purchasing at least a dozen binders today. A dozen. And at least two dozen notebooks! My daughter needs a special calculator that costs $100. Seriously. I beg to ask, whatever happened to counting on your fingers? And this may have something to do with the fact that my basic math comprehension does go beyond the 4th grade curriculum. I do still love back to school shopping and I am looking forward to picking up a few things for myself.

So, this week will be a combination of wrapping up the end of summer and enjoying the last of what she has to offer. We will also be focused on preparing for the New Year ahead. Another season is over. Another season is about to start. Another summer bids us farewell, another fall greets us warmly, with open arms.

Our children are getting older... Time doesn't stand still and we shouldn't either... We may complain, we may wish it to pass, and then it does, in the blink of an eye and all we have left is a fleeting memory. I've complained over and over again about this never-ending summer, but truthfully I know that every moment should be savored - Every moment is precious.  Please remember to embrace the moments -  the good and the bad, the happy and sad... Our children really do grow up too fast!

I need to start savoring the every day, the ordinary day...

So this Monday marks the beginning of a new week and the beginning of the end of summer for us. We have been given a last chance, allowing us to enjoy our last summer ice creams, our last trips to the beach, our last romps on the playground... our last days of sleeping in... These days, as much as I begged for their arrival, are indeed bittersweet.

Happy Monday to you all... Celebrate Monday... Celebrate the last days of summer... Celebrate the start of something new!