How fitting that on the day most local kids went back to class, temperatures rose into the low 90's accompanied by high humidity. If the weather forecast is right, it will stay that way right into the weekend, plummeting just in time for the actual Labor Day holiday.
It's as if Summer is telling us: this is it - take it or leave it. I won't be around much longer.
As such, I was in my usual panic all last week, with that awful feeling that the summer had somehow slipped away once again, and we hadn't fully taken advantage of it.
All the big plans I had for family outings back on June 9th (was it really just 82 days ago?) that never materialized. I vowed this summer would be different... while their dad was away at work, the kids and I would go on daily adventures - little day trips that would be fun, entertaining or educational. A beach here, a museum there, maybe a picnic in the park?
After all, none of us are getting any younger and with our oldest starting high school this year, I knew it wouldn't be long before the day would arrive... if it hadn't already.. that he wouldn't want to hang out with his mom and younger siblings.
We did manage to sneak in a couple of short vacations with the whole family away from Greendale, but in my mind that didn't count. If you're a parent you know how easy it can be for those fleeting summer days to slip away. All it takes is everyone doing their own thing instead of making a point to do things together.
Before long, we're caught up in sleeping late or running non-stop in ten different directions to get kids to their activities, doing little chores and errands that eat away at the day, telling the kids to stay inside with the doors locked while we are away at work so they're safe (the perfect excuse for them to spend 6-8 hours watching TV, playing X-Box or typing on the computer keyboard) or watching them walk out the door headed to a friend's house, and suddenly - it's the end of every day.
The sun is setting and we are dead tired. Another day has slipped by and before you know it, it's the end of June. Then July. Then August. And the school bell is ringing.
Parents hug and kiss their little ones good-bye as they head off to new adventures... school adventures, that is. You can always tell, looking around the playground on that first day, which parents are the ones of the K5 and younger set... they're the ones looking a little teary-eyed, reluctantly letting go as their child pulls away to head into the school building.
Trust me, us parents of older kids sometimes cry too, we just don't do it on the playground. We wait until we get back home, or at least into our cars. Because we know, watching you, that it was US not that long ago clutching the hands of our little ones in their pigtails and velcro sneakers on the blacktop at the local elementary school.
So, Greendale moms and dads, heed that whisper to take advantage of this long last summertime weekend. I know, I know - school has technically already started... but that's OK. The calendar and the thermometer still say it's summer, so get out and do something fun together while you can.
I know I am going to.