The temperature dropped 40 degrees, school has started and college football has begun. I guess that means fall is here, or at least fast approaching. And with fall beginning, that means summer is ending.

It’s ending!? Didn’t it just start? I know it’s the first week of September, but in my mind it’s still the beginning of June. It’s like I’ve been living the same day for the past three months. What happened!? It’s September already!

So before I fully embrace fall, I’m still thinking about summer, and how different this summer has been for me than last year. Having a child change from an infant into a toddler, combined with some added confidence in my stay-at-home role, provides big changes.

I remember last summer Ellie was only four or five months old and everyone would say, “Those first months go by so fast, don’t they?” What? I found this to be the exact opposite. The days were long and lonely. The only real activities we did were going for walks or trips to Target. We’d meet a friend for lunch occasionally, but for the most part, we were homebound. Ellie just lay there staring at the ceiling fan while I bombarded her with flash cards. “This is a dog… no, over here… see, look, over here.” But like every game at that age, it turned into Let’s Eat Flash Cards.

We didn’t know about story time, we didn’t have play dates or do anything social with other babies. My day revolved around the “big event” of the day: dinner. No matter how crazy and fussy Ellie was, my goal was to still manage to get a good hot meal on the table on time.

But we have friends now, and go to museums, have play dates at the park and the zoo, go to story time at the library and go every week. I write two Wyandotte Patch columns now each week (one that requires me to eat ice cream) and have deadlines to meet. And the weekends seem pretty busy, too, between weddings, family events and house projects.

We didn’t have any of this last summer. We haven’t had just a family day in awhile now. I’m not complaining at all; I’m just taking notice. And again, I do realize I only have one kid who is 18 months old. The parents who have two or three kids who are in school and have activities, whoa… all things I have to look forward to. Although Ellie didn’t go back to school with the rest of the older kids, she does start Japanese School again this Friday. And she’s advancing to the 18 months to 3-year-old group. (Ellie and I are both on the same level for this class.)

Not only are we more busy this summer, but Ellie is more active. She’s walking, running, dancing, chatting, coloring and eating real food. It all happened so gradually. Compared to how she is now, I wonder how a little baby who just lay on the floor wore me out so much. At least this summer she’s napping regularly.

Both Ellie and I weren’t sleeping much last summer. Between Ellie’sall-night party shenanigans, waking up every few hours, and her fighting to take naps during the day, we were both tired all the time. The whole house was sleepy. I remember the first night she slept for six hours straight. My wife and I woke up feeling rested, and then panicked when we realized that Ellie was still asleep. But now, she sleeps like a champ for bedtime and naptime. I, however, don’t. But it’s by choice this time. I do make time for a nap on Thursdays, though. After a trip to the farmers market and when Ellie lies down, I can be found on the couch with a jar of peanut butter and a half-eaten box of crackers until I nod off.

It’s just been an active summer and Ellie has changed so much that sometimes I miss the slow pace and the quiet, lonely days. Some days I almost crave that feeling. Maybe it’s because I want a reminder of where I was and where I am now. A reminder that I have made progress, that I am more confident in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. But every now and then, I’ll have a day where I don’t talk to anybody other than Ellie all day and have no plans all week long. I don’t miss being lonely so much after that. As much as I think I’m awkward and antisocial, I think I really do enjoy the company of other people. I’m not a people person though; I’m a wannabe people person.

So this whole reflection and feeling like summer was over in a blink has me realizing that life is busy, and will always be busy. The older Ellie gets and the more active she becomes, time will continue to feel like it’s slipping through my fingers. I will always have some sort of scheduled event and have things on my to-do list. There will always be something out on the horizon, but now is only available now. She will go to school, she will start talking, she will start reading, but right now, she’s all about the fist bump and I’m gonna go with that for now.

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