In my house, July means the summer’s gone on long enough that boredom has set in and now the only release from the Endless Summer Fun of Youthful Ennui is Recreational Fighting. Don’t get me wrong, my kids are generally crazy about each other, and very protective of each other when anyone else tries to gang up on one of ’em, but late July has tempers wearing thin and patience at a thread ready to break.

Not only do they squabble with each other, they’ll cheerfully gang up on Mom, too. In other seasons, “Time to go” means five to ten minutes of jumping in the car. In high summer, “time to go” means half an hour of arguing while two very competent sub-units forget how to put on shoes, and “we’re leaving” means six more jumps into the pool, followed by an argument of who gets the wetter towel to sit on, on the way home in the car while listening to a lecture from Mom on water safety, why unauthorized jumps in the pool can be dangerous, and why water slides have lifeguards for a reason.

In the midst of refereeing all the squabbles, beating back resistance to household hygiene (yes, you still have to brush your teeth in the summer, and no, not with popsicles), and fighting a losing battle against the gradual decline of household presentability, Mom might be feeling a little bittersweet, because soon, the summers themselves will take on a different quality–the friends and the freedom will become less of a family thing and more of an individual thing. The adventures won’t just be the tree house and the woods. There will be less, “Mom, let’s do this” and more, “Mom, I want to go do this.”

The more their little faces lose the baby fat, the more I see the seasons–not just the ones of the year, but the seasons of life. And I can’t help a teensy-tiny secret bit of relief to still hear, “Just one more jump in the pool, Mom?”

My short contemporary romantic comedy, Forever Material, is about a Dating Diva who finds the right kind of Mr. Wrong. It’s on Summer Sale for $3.49 at the major retailers.

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She’s absolutely sure he’s not the marrying kind…

He’s absolutely sure she’s right…

But he’s still going to prove her wrong.

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