My back-to-school supply shopping has officially begun.

You might see me as the kind of mom who prints off all the lists, organizes them, and then takes one trip to Walmart or Target and knocks it out in one child-free evening the week before school starts.

But some of you know me better than that. You know that, instead, I scour the office supply store weekly ads for the last six weeks of summer, and only buy items that are $1 or less, until I’ve successfully found everything on every list for a grand total of about $17.50. My favorite part about school supply shopping this year? Staples is price matching everyone else, so I only have to make one stop and it is a mere seven minutes from my house. My least favorite part about school supply shopping, period? Staples, despite its relatively small size and the fact that it is a store which falls under the general category of office organization, manages to organize things in about the most idiotic way possible. I find myself in Where’s Waldo slash Supermarket Sweep mode the minute I walk through double doors.

Eliott lamented the fact that summer is almost over for a half a second before announcing she cannot wait to start using her brand new notebooks. That’s my girl.

But I actually cannot believe it either. If I admit that the last eight weeks have happened in a series of blinks, I don’t even have a metaphor for how John must feel. For the first time since opening Wait Law, he took a full two weeks off to go fishing in Canada and then to bring the kids home with him to Michigan.

Two weeks off, when you work for yourself, isn’t actually the picture of a relaxing vacation that remote lake resort fishing and time on the farm tends to paint in the minds of normal humans. Two weeks off, when you work for yourself, means at least two weeks prior of near-all-nighters, frantic email correspondence from exactly two square feet of Internet connectivity, and the choice between catching up on sleep or catching up on work the minute the plane lands safely back in North Carolina.

It probably doesn’t help that plane travel might actually now be less convenient, less comfortable, and about as efficient as Indian rickshaws.

I can’t say I envy the man. Though I was a single mother for eight days, I have a pretty good idea that I still won the vacation war this summer.

In fact, in all the years of our marriage and parenting lives, this summer is just winning.

It hit me yesterday, as I threw the pool bag into the car without even checking to see if everything was in it, I feel like I’m living at a beach house or a lake. We’re not quite all the way moved in to our new place, so it doesn’t feel completely like home. But we’ve spent more time barefoot and in swim clothes than not. The girls have been outside more than inside, and at any given time, they are finding someone new to play with in the neighborhood.

There are toys and shoes in my backyard that I do not recognize.

Towels go from the back porch, to the pool bag, to the back porch.

Five o’clock struggling dinner plans have, on more than one occasion, been saved by last minute block party invites on the street behind us. It seems these people need very little excuse to get together in the name of cooking competitions and drinking.

And I love it.

So maybe there remains three entire overflow rooms calling to be unpacked. Three doctor and four dentist appointments yet unscheduled. A tuition check sitting on the counter dated June 30th.

But I just don’t care. We are tan. We are napping. We are reading lots of books.

A good summer.

We Passed the Half Way Point and I Missed It

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