The Hinsdalean - Community journalism the way it was meant to be

Summer - and childhood - over all too quickly

 

August 22, 2019 | View PDF



And in the blink of an eye, it’s over.

Summer 2019 is in the books.

I know, I know. Summer will continue until the autumnal equinox marks its official end Sept. 23.

But summer — for the purposes I discuss here — ended this week with the start of school. And this year — as it has every August since Ainsley was in preschool — its unofficial conclusion has taken me by surprise.

We are somewhat prepared, with a large box of school supplies sitting in our living room. With any luck, all will be appropriately labeled before arriving in Ainsley’s fifth-grade classroom.

Earlier this week she finished reading “Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus,” a book about a girl with no arms and a boy with Tourette syndrome that was understandably difficult to follow from the tidbits she shared (but interesting nevertheless!).

And we’ve signed up for the after-school program so she will not be home alone in the afternoons when Dan is traveling and I am at work.

That’s three items off the to-do list.

But there are many boxes left unchecked.

The biggest task left undone is shopping for new school clothes, something I had hoped to accomplish Monday, when I had the day off. Groggy from a Sunday-night sleepover, Ainsley took a pass. But now, as the first day of school gets closer, her interest in a new outfit has dramatically increased. She needs “something cool,” she tells me.

My guess is this involves a pair of jeans shorts, which she owns, and some type of peasant blouse, which she also owns. In fact, it’s the exact outfit she wore last year for the first day of school!

But those denim shorts are not only dirty — which could be remedied in time for the opening bell — they are way too short. At least for school.

After Monday’s plans fell through, I had anticipated a weekend shopping trip to stock up on these staples. I appreciate that Ainsley has a look she likes. But I confess I miss the days when I was in charge of her back-to-school outfit.

I used to be able to pick out a dress from Hanna Andersson or Gymboree for the first day of school and she would wear it. (My favorite remains the little navy blue number with pink and yellow trim that she sashayed into kindergarten wearing.)

I’ve been lucky that she has allowed me to buy most of her clothes with little input. But I suppose she can’t wear T-shirts with pictures of girls holding surf boards or emblazoned with sequined flip-flops forever. I should be grateful, I guess, that a few of these shirts made appearances while we were on vacation in Saugatuck last week.

Ainsley is growing up — literally! At 5 feet 2 inches, she’s as tall as many adults and often mistaken for a middle-schooler or even a high schooler, not a fifth-grader.

At 10, she’s still a kid, but I can begin to see the signs of the young woman she will soon become. Before I know it, her days in elementary school and middle school will be over and she’ll be heading off to high school. And college.

Then I’ll really know the meaning of being unprepared.

 
 

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