I am the crazy person that wishes summer away. It has nothing to do with the heat or the humidity. My job in the summer gets incessantly harder. When I say harder, like quadruple the amount of work and liability.
I have been in the aquatics industry my whole life and summer to me means working on holidays, opening outdoor pools, seeing an insane amount of campers daily, managing over 100 staff and teaching countless hours of swimming lessons. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all of this! Truly, I do. However, it still doesn’t make it easy. So, I count down the days until it all ends. When I get to week 8 of camp I do a little dance in my head. Ok fine, a big fucking dance. However, this year, well this year was quite the opposite. I didn’t want the summer to end.
I didn’t wish any part of summer away. Not one single day. I couldn’t. My life was drastically changing and I didn’t want to accept it. After this summer, my baby girl was headed off to kindergarten and I wasn’t ready. At all.
I have been fortunate enough, for the last four years to have Harper attend the ELC located in the same building as where I work. Every day we commuted together; to and from work/school and it was the greatest. We listened to Sesame Street: The Best of Elmo on repeat; insane amounts of repeat. I would look back in the mirror and see that sassy toddler dancing and jamming out and I never got sick of those 15 songs on constant repeat; ever. We would get to the J and she would see the wacky-wobbly air-filled tubes on the top of the building that sway in the wind and she’d get so excited. When she was one, she called them “the woahs” because she would point and just say, “woah”. The name stuck and we had to say our last goodbye to the woahs this summer. This is the stuff I am going to miss.
In those early years, I would see her teachers and the happy toddlers holding onto that colorful rope and I’d have to hide. I became very good at jumping behind poles or into storage closets so Harper wouldn’t see me and get sad. As the years went on, I could pass her in the halls and get a hug and a kiss without breaking our stride. I would continue on walking to my meeting and she would continue on walking with her class to her next activity. This is the stuff I am going to miss.
Due to her giant personality, her sassy demeanor and her love for people; she knew everyone at the J. She would walk up to anyone and introduce herself and if she really liked you, she would stretch out her hand and walk with you into the building. She would walk by the door to our facilities director and give it a kiss every morning. Continuing down the hall she would see my boss Will (or Wheel when she was two years old) and give him a high-five and take off running to see if her Aunt Audrey was in her office for a snuggle and to play doctor with the printer who moonlighted as an x-ray machine. This is the stuff I am going to miss.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching her grow up. I love her gazillion questions and her stories. I love seeing her make memories and live her childhood. I do just wish I can keep that toddler twinkle or even that baby stare for just a little while longer. Just keep that innocence a little bit longer. I would not however in a million years want to repeat age three. Never in a million fucking years would I ever repeat the threenager years. EVER. That was absolutely god awful.
Tomorrow, my baby, wakes up a kindergartner. It seems like yesterday that I was just packing for her first day at the ELC and now four years have gone by. I know she is ready. She is more than ready and I am so excited for her. I just can’t get the thought about how hard it will be to let go of her hand and let her fly on her own for the first time.
All of my firsts I have done with Harper. I think that is why I get so choked up just thinking about kindergarten. It will definitely be bittersweet, full of happiness for her and sadness for me. She is strong and sassy, and I am so impressed as I watch her meet new challenges with determination and grace. What an amazing person she is and will continue to be.
So here we are, at this starting line called kindergarten. Where it all begins. If anyone needs me, I will be in the really bright blue Jeep crying my fucking eyes out.
And for the record…. to any school my children attend, I will NEVER be a PTA room parent. Ain’t nobody got time for that, or at least I don’t! Unless of course, I can bring all of the paper goods!