A Sad Farewell to the Innocence of Summer


For as long as I can remember, I've always had a hard time saying goodbye to summer. It's not that I don't enjoy the fall; it's just that summer has this certain simplicity--the warm weather, the long days of sunshine, the freshly picked fruits and vegetables, the playgrounds, the beach, the craft fairs, the carnivals, and the hours upon hours of tireless play.

Now that I officially started work last week, I feel like a kid dreading school all over again. (I work part-time in the career center of a local community college, and I teach three courses at various colleges.) This week was a reminder of cooler temperatures, shorter days, less outdoor activities, and limited free time. Now that I'm back to work, schedules reign supreme and responsibility replaces lightheartedness, maturity replaces innocence, and structure replaces spontaneity.

The working mother guilt is setting in big time. Now, I will only have Thursdays and weekends to spend the full day with my little boy. Visits to the playgrounds, local farms, and the library will be less, and I suspect my time to photograph and discover new weekly “mommy moments” will be less as well.

Daycare will be starting this week, and that will bring a whole new set of worries. Since this will be my little boy’s first time, I am concerned about him getting sick, picking up ‘bad habits’ from other children, and not getting the proper rest he gets at home. I’m also concerned about my own anxiety—the torture of leaving him in the care of someone else. Will his new teachers be kind, patient, and gentle with him? Will they give him the love, encouragement, and support he needs? Will he feel abandoned by mommy who spent every single day with him this summer?

I prepare, knowing this transition is inevitable. Eventually, all children need some separation from their families to learn, develop, and become independent thinkers. Still, I fear that I’m rushing the process—at two, he’s still my baby!

Yes, as I say goodbye to summer this year, I am also saying goodbye to the life of innocence and simplicity I spent with my little boy. I’m saying goodbye to the relaxing morning breakfasts outside on the picnic bench, the long afternoons of spontaneous play, and the uninterrupted nighttime cuddling. We are on a schedule now—it’s time for me and my little boy to move from never-never land back to grown-up land…

The transition from summertime play to daycare...
Farewell to Summer


  1. In my post-college years, it took a while to adjust to the "grown up world" (i.e., life that doesn't revolve around a September to May schedule). I was single and working full time as a recuiter, but still I found myself looking forward to May as if I would be on a 3-month vacation at that time--WRONG! As recruiter, I still followed a school schedule more or less, because a lot of our recruitment took place on college campuses, so travel for my job would slow down during the summer months. The 1 or 2 weeks of vacation didn't compare to summers off! Once I was married and had my son, leaving him was the hardest thing I could imagine. I was still working full time and traveling, too. I balled my eyeballs out the entire commute to work (probably looked a hot mess upon arrival)and begged my supervisor to allow me to recruit at local schools. My husband and grandmother cared for my baby boy. After my daughter was born 2 years later I quit working full time. Because I was caring for my two plus my nephew who is 8 mos younger than my daughter, I enrolled my then 3-yr-old son in a Parent's Day Out program two days a week. It was a small program (8 students per class), and I loved the director and the teachers. The next year I enrolled everyone and went to work in the 18-month old class. Just to set your mind at ease a little, I absolutely loved my job (would probably still be doing it if our financial needs weren't so great). I delighted in seeing those babies "grow up" over the 9 months they were in our program. At least in a church-based program you can still love and cuddle the little ones when they need a little extra attention. Sometimes I'd have extra hands to rock the babies & I'd lie down of the floor to comfort the more "active" little ones until the music finally lulled them to sleep. While I can't say my love and care for them was a replacement for a mom's touch, I did love them like my own. They were "my babies" from 9 til 2:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I tried to leave parents a personalized note on their child's daily sheets each day. A good director of a childcare program will see to it that he/she hires reliable, loving teachers because not just anyone can deal with little people all day long. I hope Little Lewie's program is outstanding and he has lots of fun to set your mind at ease. I won't lie to you, the first few days will be rough. If the teacher or director seems to be rushing you out of the classroom, it's because the kids can usually settle down and get into their routine faster once mommy/daddy have left the building. It's hard to see your little one upset and then just leave them that way, but they really do recover and go on about their business once you're gone. Didn't mean to write a complete book on the subject, but feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions I could help you with.
    -EW (passionfish30@hotmail.com)

  2. So sorry, Annette-looks like my comment is longer than your post! Feel free to remove it once you've read it if you need the space. -EW

  3. I know, it is kind of sad isn't it! I also wrote a post today about enjoying the last bits of summer.

  4. I love summer too. Before I stayed at home with my boys, I cherished every SUMMER second with my oldest(before baby was born) and we'd do EVERYTHING we could fit in those short, 2.5 months! We'd cram it full of exciting Mommy and me things just like you. Your post made me wanna cry, because I felt that same way about summer coming to an end. Good luck with daycare-you are right, he'll do fine and he'll make great friends-hang in there :)

  5. Ahhh, the end of summer, I've been lamenting it too. Good Luck to you both but I'm sure you both will enjoy and cherish your nights and weekends together that much more:)


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