Poof! It's gone.

Aug 30, 2008 at 9:09 a.m. ET

Even when I know it's coming, it's still a shock in some ways. It's Labor Day. While summer is not over by the calendar until later in September, it's functionally over today. And since I just found my summer groove a few weeks ago, the end seems particularly ill-timed and a bit sad.

Like many families, we try to cram what summer activities we can into the long weekend, playing hard and with a sense of urgency. But even during that urgent play, there's also a sense of reflection over the last weeks. What were the really great parts of summer and what might we like to avoid in the future?

A time for relection

It may sound a little business-like, but this reflection time can help to transition to the new season as well as help us plan future summers. At work we have actual sit down meetings to discuss what worked on a particularly project and what didn't, resulting in action items and changes to development plans. While I won't go that far at home, I do try to find one-on-one time with each of my kids and ask they what they most enjoyed about summer, and what they didn't like.

Some responses are expected: Alfs loved sailing, Woody loved his theater program, and Sunshine enjoyed the beach and the library. Some responses are unexpected, however: Alfs wishing he'd spent more time with a particular friend (huh? I don't remember him asking to see that friend at all!) or Sunshine mentioning the time she spent painting with a sitter (note to self: more art supplies at the next gift-giving occasion).

When I think back to the bits of my summer (not just the kids), I think about how grateful I am that I found a good sitter to help with the kids. I think about how I could have planned more grown-up time with just my husband, and ways to streamline beach trips and meals and all sorts of little things. I think about the house projects/maintenance completed and not completed. Most in the not column.

Good-bye, summer

Mostly I think, we've had a good summer. Not perfect (I don't think there is such a thing), but a good one. As sad as I am to see it go, at least I can look back at these last weeks with satisfaction. We all had most of what we needed in a summer (fun, sunshine) and now can get on with the business of fall and school and another change in routine.

Good-bye, summer. We'll miss you.

Read More: