Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Winding Down and Gearing Up

Cape Cod Weather Today: Cool, clear and calm, after wild thunderstorms that rolled through yesterday. Wispy white clouds on a pale blue sky the color of this font...

We had a visit yesterday from old friends, the Websters. From when we lived "off-Cape." They were passing through, and were only here for the afternoon so their boys could hang out and catch up with my boys. I baked a cake.

For some reason, seeing these boys they used to ride the bus with every day reminded my kids that summer is really almost over. Hit them over the head like a ton of bricks. After our guests left, the boys were scrambling to find their supply lists for school, and worrying about how many days of summer are really left on the calendar (although my ten year old still refused to even touch the summer math packet he got back in June...)

I really thought they'd be scrambling for old photo albums, or mementos of the past. Instead they were anxious and eager to move forward.

Why is that?

Why when confronted with memories of the past do we become more eager for the future?

These were their best friends from Kindergarten, lived around the block from us, and grew up together. Yet I got no questions about why we had to move away, when would we be moving back closer, could they come to visit again soon... nothing I expected. "Where is my supply list for seventh grade?" was the anxious question. "How many days until school starts?"

My boys have grown tremendously in the last two years. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. Seeing the Websters may have made them realize just how much, as well as realizing they didn't want to go back to who they used to be, or how they used to see the world.

My ten year old is in a rock band now. He's played concerts in front of hundreds of people. He writes stories that make me jealous of his creativity. He draws fabulous sea creatures that his art teacher frames for him. He isn't the kid who gets pulled out of class for writing support or physical therapy anymore. And he doesn't want to be.

My twelve year old is now six inches taller than his old best friend, and already been through puberty. He's been hanging out with more independent and mature kids all summer. He has different interests than he used to. He'd been talking about seeing this particular friend all summer (coincidently) and was able to ask him all the questions about all their former classmates... so and so is still a bully, that guy became a real loner computer geek, the other kid is still hyperactive... which he rattled off to me after the Websters left. I think he just wanted to confirm he didn't miss anything important.

I did kind of the same thing. Asking about different neighbors and friends. I was assured our old house looks exactly the same. The biggest news was that our old bus driver was fired on the spot one day. He let up on the brake pedal too early at pull-out, and bumped the bus in front of him. No tolerance policy. The old superintendant finally left as well, but that writing was on the wall long ago.

Would we go back to our old town? Probably not. It's a great town, and I still keep up with friends there. But the kids are different people now for the experiences they've had since moving. Going back would feel like going backward.

But it's still nice to visit with old friends.

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