It's the end of summer. While a lot of stay-at-home parents of school-aged children are high-fiving as the bus pulls away, I find myself in the glum minority. I hate the beginning of school. Mainly, I just know I'm really going to miss my kid.
I am in the lucky position to be able to scale back any work and be a total goof-off with my 7-year-old daughter when school is out. I understand how rare this is, and I don't take it for granted. Rather than utilizing camps or other structured activities, we are out-of-school outlaws: we swim, we road trip, we run errands, we hang out, we get bored. For me, September is just another small goodbye hinting at bigger ones ahead. But like a criminal on the lam, I realize our Thelma and Louise days are numbered, and not just because school is back in session. The Grand Canyon of her independence yawns in front of me and sooner than I care to acknowledge, I'll be Harvey Keitel waving helplessly in her dust.
And although I'll enjoy more freedom during the school year, for all you out there who are slightly heartbroken when the morning bell rings, know that you're not alone in your missing-your-little-partner pangs.
So here's to summer. And here's to you, Kid. This is what I'll miss most:
I will miss buying groceries in off-hours and seeing how far one can throw a loaf of bread while the other catches it with the cart.
I will miss fighting over the car radio.
I will miss her leaning over my shoulder at the bank drive-through and announcing, "There's a child in here," hoping for a sucker along with my deposit slip.
I will miss hearing her privately rail about my gym's exclusionary policies toward children "who are well-behaved and can totally handle the equipment."
I will miss our cafe window game "That's Your Husband," where we are secretly betrothed to any number of random passers-by.
I will miss daily goals like seeing how many snow cone stands we can hit and sick and blue-tongued, abandoning the idea by noon.
I'll miss being physically blocked at any escalator exit and forced to answer, "What's the word?" (Answer: "Thunderbird.")
I will miss her diving into the bed late at night, commanding my remote and delightfully squealing, "Hurray! My Cat from Hell is on!"
I will miss her thoughtful dressing room commentary. ("If you were 25, I'd say okay. But you're a mom now, so I say no.")
Most of all, I will miss us. Because soon, she will be driving her own getaway.
But until that time, every summer, I'll turn to my little Louise and say, "Let's not get caught. Let's keep going."