Shhh. Can you hear it? That sound at the nation's playgrounds, pools, campgrounds and beaches is summer's last gasp. Or is it the collective sigh of relief from millions of moms who worked hard and played hard with their kids over the past two-and-a-half months?
My kids have three more days of freedom. That means I have three more days running "Camp MJ," which among the activities this week featured a walk across the 1.7 mile long Golden Gate Bridge (and back), before heading for an afternoon at the pool. Fun, fun, fun....interrupted only by frequent bouts of bickering!
Yet despite my fried nerves and exhausted patience, I'm experiencing the end-of-summer blues - that mix of depression and nostalgia that has me longing for lazy mornings, pressure-free afternoons and laid back evenings.
I have always joked that there ought to be a law mandating that school shouldn't start until after Labor Day. Lo and behold - because of a grass roots movement called "Save Our Summers," there is such a law in three states: Minnesota, Wisconsin and Virginia. Five other states have passed legislation forbidding public schools from opening too terribly early in August. I'm sure private and parochial schools in those states ultimately follow the state mandated schedule as well.
"Summer creep," as this recent piece in the Sunday SFChronicle called it, is the trend toward moving school start dates up into early August, which many blame on the testing frenzy caused by No Child Left Behind. I really don't care what's exactly to blame...it just seems criminal to me to have the dog days eaten up by school days.
Am I being too romantic, too nostalgic about the dog days of summer? Time Magazine writer Nancy Gibbs thinks I am. "Savoring summer is a habit tattooed from childhood," she writes in her essay, "Dog Days No More." "The flip side of summer freedom is anarchy, the structures of school and work melted into casual Fridays and long weekends spent playing on grass now baked to beige by drought, if it has not been drowned by this summer's biblical floods."
A cynic would say that - although the days are still long, the leaves aren't turning colors yet, and there's no chill in the night air - autumn in our accelerated world has already begun.
Are your kids back in school? How does that make you feel? What do you think about "summer creep?" Click below on "Comments" and tell us what you're thinking.