Crying Behind my Sunglasses: A Mom’s Farewell to Summer & A Season of Childhood

summer sunset
Sun sets on summer and I say farewell to this season of childhood. Photo: Allison Winter

Summer is over, and this mama’s heart is a little broken. 

We toasted the end of summer with lemonade and ice cream, as we filled our final summer days with trips to the pool and a rush to visit the events and exhibits that close after Labor Day.

Those long lazy days of summer are over. Now, we’re in September, a hurricane of new beginnings, orientations, activities, and lunchbox-packing. 

Sure, the pool will open again in 9 months. There will always be another round of special summer activities. But this was the only summer my children would be 8 and 5 years-old. So I can’t help but grieve its passing.

For our family, summer has certain traditions and places we always visit: the pool, the beach, certain parks. But each year, when summer comes around and we return to these special places, I find I am not taking the same children there. They are at a phases of rapid development and growth. They change so much every year. Each summer they are bigger, more capable, and have different interests. The pool is the same. The children — suddenly brave enough to jump in on their own — are not the same.

So as the sun hangs lower in the sky and a cool breeze comes in, I find myself mourning the end of this particular phase of childhood. My children started kindergarten and third grade this year. They will learn and grow and develop in amazing ways. I will watch in awe. The world will turn and summer will come around again, but my children will be different.

So, I am saying farewell to the summer of 8 and 5. 

This summer my 5-year-old learned to ride a bike without training wheels. My 8-year-old started to read books without training wheels. He was old enough to delve into a book on his own, but he still climbed in my lap and begged me to read Harry Potter to him. 

It was the summer my 5-year-old learned to swim and my 8-year-old made plans to race breaststroke. This summer, neither of them played ring-around-the-rosie in their swim class. 

It was the summer they went in the ocean without life vests (but not without an adult). This summer, they fell in love with boogie boarding, and my 8-year-old learned to catch a wave by himself. They still built a sand castle, but only one.

This was the first summer they went to day-camp. They loved it. My 8-year-old made plans for sleep-away camp next year. He said he is ready, and he’s right. 

This was probably the last summer they will spend every night under the same roof as me.

So forgive this mama for crying under my sunglasses, as my son — who was afraid to put his head underwater what seems like a minute ago– tries one more silly jump into the pool. Time flies, and so do little boys off the diving board.

Summer will be back again before I know it.

We will come back to this pool, this beach, this ice cream shop. But my children will be different.

The pool is the same. But the children — suddenly brave enough to jump in — will not. Photo by Allison Winter


  1. Feeling these same big feels right along with you!! Summer is magic and these little guys keep on growing and stretching and amazing us in each new season of life. And this season was especially sweet and special. Hugs mama!

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