Summer is officially over, friends.

Ugh.

I’m always eager for the freshness of a new school year, but there’s also a little part of me that can’t help but look back over my shoulder with a tinge of sadness. The freedom of no schedules and no expectations is nice for a bit. And, yes, I get sick of schlepping and chaperoning the girls at the pool faster than I should, but I always miss it once it’s over.

This summer we did a lot — the girls went to ballet camp and horse camp and preschool camp and cheer camp; we celebrated both girls’ birthdays with a big Wizard of Oz party, then re-celebrated E.V.’s actual birthday with a low-key pool party; Emma Vance spent a week in North Carolina at sleep away camp, meaning I traveled up to Asheville twice for drop off and pick-up; Cricket joined me on the latter; the girls and I visited Great Grandma Vance in Orlando (my first solo road trip — woohoo adulthood!); our family spent endless hours pool hopping, playing at friends’ houses and exploring our city.

And then, on the last Saturday of summer, the four of us drove over to Sope Creek and hiked down to the river. We waded along the rocks and let the water wash over us. We all laughed when Cricket walked up to a stranger and randomly declared, “My dog Oscar licks his penis” (true, but maybe TMI). The girls conquered their fears of slipping on the rocks with the help of their father. We explored the old, rocky mill ruins in awe. We all got a bit of sun and a lot of exercise. We were sweaty and starving and exhausted by the time we were done — and we all felt like it was the perfect way to say goodbye to the summer. Even if we weren’t truly ready to say it quite yet.