Closing Summer – Text Me, Love Mom

At the end of summer, I’m asked, often enough to make it remarkable, did you close up the cottage? I imagine myself dressed as if from another era, maybe a kerchief on my head, pulling heavy canvas sheets over the furniture, putting up storm windows, whatever that entails, and boarding up the doors. So the question amuses me. Still, though we don’t ‘close’ our retreat, we do close something when September rolls around all too quickly. IMG_4558

Septembers are different then in years gone by. Our kids are scattered now.  The boys are in Vancouver, one making the September trek back to school to study film production, and using his midnight hours to work with his brother producing an inquisitive documentary about youth culture. boys dive

Our daughters are here in the city, the youngest launching Midnight Train Photography (http://www.midnighttrain.ca/) and the eldest did buy the new September backpack – for her small daughter to bounce around in circle time, and learn the ‘clean up’ song with Miss Jenny at playschool. All six of us manage to reunite at Christmas, but it’s at the lake in the summer where we jubilantly celebrate family time – with campfires, and lazy hot days on the boat, and mixing it up with the tiny ones with buckets and pebbles on the shore.

girls in sheba
We still try to make it to the cottage on the B.C lake for a respite from city life, on a few winter long weekends. So while we don’t close the cottage in early September – there’s no denying that we close ‘summer’. The dock is hauled up to the beach, where the stretch of pebbles will only get longer as the lake creeps back, the red canoe is tied up high in the trees, the fire pit covered from winter rain, the lawn chairs that had been circled around it on super- moon nights, hauled inside – along with a bundle of wiener and marshmallow roasting sticks.

Making the long drive out late in the year, we arrive in the dark and use the still ‘open’ cottage, huddling around the fireplace, stamping our feet until the place warms up to provide a cozy refuge from winter, but outside – we will have closed up the season of summer. I’ll miss the kids and send them that message, Text Me, Love Mom. If this blog resonates with you during these shortening September days, you will enjoy my recently released book – Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest – available at Pages Books, Owls Nest Books, and Shelf Life Books in Calgary or your favorite online book seller. Welcome to Autumn.

sunset

September Takes My Breath Away

The leaves start to drop. The air is fresh. A school playground fills with shouting kids, and pick-up soccer games – and I feel melancholy, but on the edge of excitement, too. More than January, isn’t September the time of new beginnings? New grade school? College and university? Parents and kids fill backpacks with crisp notebooks and coloured pencils, then head to the malls looking for squeaky new runners? There are anticipatory trips to Ikea to deck out tiny dorm rooms or studio apartments full of furniture with funny Swedish names.
But there’s boo hooing all across the country too, for all those kids heading out the door with hockey duffles converted to super suitcases, and back packs hiding that favourite worn out stuffie, or that last  pair of sandals hopeful for another month of warm weather?

I have four young adult children who are just now getting used to my having written a book about this next stage of parenting, about all those Septembers – those goodbyes until Thanksgiving.  When Zoë, the eldest, left home, her copies of Love In the Time of Cholera, Harry Potter, and Dragonquest gone from the shelves, her colorful collection of shoes gathered from the closets, and her vanilla-scented products stripped from the bathroom, I searched the self-help sections for a manual on how to let go. Now that I’m a true empty nest-er, it seems a bit odd. After all, I still had three hyped-up teens in the house. One of them leaving home should have given me a little more room to breathe. But it didn’t. It took my breath away. photo

I was able to relive it all, writing Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two boys, One Empty Nest.  (Hey kids – I gave you pseudonyms – relax.  Nobody knows who this Zoë, Cole, Hudson and Lily that I write about are.) If you’ve been following my erratic blog, I’d love it if you check out my book.  It’s been one hec of a ride. And if one of yours has packed up and will be spending winter and spring in another part of the country, or maybe another country – it’ll be okay.  Really.