The sweater

Another school year has begun, signaling the unofficial end of summer.

For me that triggers a sense of melancholy that change comes whether we like it or not. That’s not a bad thing. Summer cannot last forever because I actually miss the crispness of fall and the fresh fallen snow of winter.

But I’m not quite ready for summer to end just yet, so I have hidden away a security blanket: my favourite sweater. It sits folded on a shelf in the laundry room in a desperate attempt to hold on to the season just a little longer.

That sweater is still fragrant with the smoky smell of bonfires, holding the memories of my last week of summer vacation with my kids. The scent holds the nightly ritual of laughter and stories shared beside a crackling fire next to a lake in the Kawarthas.

Every year, my family has rented the same cottage on a lake with the same families around us and these people have become our family, affectionately known as the “cottage cousins.”

No matter how tight the budget, I always do my best to make this week possible for my children, because this is one of the times where I really see how much they’ve grown in size and in their own unique ways; when I measure them on the same rock steps next to their old friends and we reminisce about all the summer adventures gone by.

This is what life is all about: the moments we spend with the people we choose. We chill out, swap stories, watch the water antics and witness a group of incredible kids growing up together.

Our families are creating a legacy and we know it.

So we fill up our mobile phones with photos and download our memories on a stick to mark a place in time that evolves with the seasons – because a year from now things will be different, and we will be different, and that’s okay too.

I am not ready to wash those memories away just yet. I will, when the time is right, when I have come to terms with the fact that my kids are entering a new grade, and new stages in their lives and the calendar is filling up with games, practices, rehearsals and deadlines.

While I am absolutely certain these are all great things, positive changes to be sure, I need a little time to let go of a summer that passed by so fast it felt like I didn’t catch up until it was over. So I need to hold on, just a little longer.

Summers don’t last forever and truthfully, we wouldn’t want them to. Next week, when we’ve all resigned ourselves to the excitement of new routines and the anticipation of all the next season will bring, I’ll pick up my sweater and inhale the smells one more time before I let them go out with the wash.

I’m sentimental. I’m okay with that. It’s the little things in life that we need to pay attention to, like the smell of bonfires and the way they make us feel.

So long summer. Hello golden leaves, cooler days and frosty nights in my favourite sweater, fresh and ready to make new memories to come.



Kelly Waterhouse