Here it is, the middle of August. This week, my husband and I finished our stint as Tuesday morning breakfast cooks at New Life Camp, an overnight Christian summer camp here in Raleigh where my kids have been campers and counselors for the last 20 years. The temps are back in the 80's instead of high 90's. My Facebook newsfeed is full of posts from my homeschool mama friends already starting school, or for those wringing out the last few weeks of summer for all their worth, planning to start school in the next few weeks. WalMart and Target are full of back-to-school banners and bins of Crayola markers, glue sticks, spiral notebooks, binders, and backpacks. My favorite homeschool bloggers are posting all kinds of advice about Getting Started and Easing into the School Year and Surviving High School and Planning Great Field Trips. And for the first time in 23 years, I am not making lesson plans for a child of mine.
This is my first "new school year" as a retired homeschool mom, and it feels... weird. Bittersweet. Surreal. Suddenly the relentless rush of days of feeding, clothing, planning, teaching, chauffering, tending, counseling, and otherwise raising children has skidded to a halt, and I find myself wistfully thinking back over the years as though flipping through the pages of a scrapbook, catching glimpses of co-op classes and piano lessons and waiting at band practice and reading aloud on the couch and full calendars and a messy house. The messy house remains. But I've rolled over into a new season.
I am still teaching other people's children this year, so I am making middle school geography lesson plans. My youngest will still be home working this fall before moving away to start college in January. I feel incredibly grateful and have no regrets - except for all those things I wish I had done better.
I am adjusting, but am not quite there yet.