You can feel it actually. The waning days of summer, as the sun slants ever so slightly in a different direction, the light is changing.
In the past 18 years of my life, this small but significant sign has meant we are approaching back to school shopping, one last trip to the beach, a new school year on the horizon. This year is similar, yet different. Our youngest son is heading to college, and so for the first time in what seems like a very long time, I don’t have a child in our school district, I’m no longer getting the “back to school” notices, the reminders, the lunch account replenishment, the high school parking passes. I’m not filling out pages of medical forms or reviewing soccer schedules, and blocking out game times on my calendar.
I don’t miss this really… maybe? I don’t know. As the light wanes this August, the changes feel bigger, more unknown, the overall life shift is more monumental. It’s natural and normal, and inevitable. I am becoming more of a bystander, a cheerleader in my son’s life. He fills out the medical forms now and I just proofread. We discuss meal plans and a college course schedule.
With the changing light though, comes possibility. My son is at once worried, anxious, and excited. As each of his childhood friends has departed, one by one, like the drip of a slow faucet, he is ready to go. He will have endless possibilities in college, new friends, and a bigger world to be a part of. And we will have a new routine, a quieter house, opportunities for new (or old) hobbies and interests to take center stage.
So when I get a little wistful for the high school days, the standing out in the rain for soccer games, the focal point of my life revolving around these kids, I will take a deep breath, close my eyes and embrace this late summer light. The light is changing, and so are we.