The Last Day of Summer

Contributed by August Blogger of the Month, Mari Farthing

Well, it’s not really the last day of summer, just the last day of summer break. Used to be that we would fill this day with whatever we didn’t get enough of during the summer—pajamas and movies or field trips to fun places or swimming or whatever we desired.

But now my kids aren’t so much kids anymore. They’re more small adults who have more opinions about how their days are structured. This morning has been spent negotiating in how we were going to spend the rest of the day, balanced between must-do’s and want-to-do’s. There were pleas of fast food lunch and staying home to ride bikes and cries of but I don’t want to and meh.

I get “meh” a lot these days.

But we landed on an old favorite, agreed to spend some hours in one of our old favorite places—the zoo. When they were little, I don’t think a week would go by when we didn’t use our zoo pass for a visit.

I can’t count the number of hours or miles I’ve logged on those paths over the past 14 or so years. But this summer, with teenagers, I honestly can’t remember the last time we went. Maybe it was a school field trip?

The last time I brought them to the zoo, it hit me how time has passed. I walked with them through the brigade of moms with zipper bags of goldfish crackers and sweaty-headed toddlers and strollers and sippy cups and diaper bags and I got a little nostalgic for what was. But I did my time with the little ones. And now we go and it’s a new experience, with almost-grown-ups who crack jokes but still have starry-eyed wonder at the animals.

So you’ll see me, the older mom with the short hair and sensible shoes, walking with my children who are almost but not quite taller than me. But in my mind’s eye, it’ll be me with the goldfish crackers and the sweaty-headed toddlers, eyes filled with wonder.

okc zoo

Mari FarthingAlong with being awkward, Mari Farthing blogs at and is a prolific social media presence (meaning she drinks copious amounts of coffee each morning and proceeds to avoid housework by surfing the internet). She’s a freelance writer and editor and mother of two.

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  1. Oh Mari. xoxo I loved this! We actually went to the zoo this weekend, just my husband and me, and the entire time I was choking back tears remembering all the dozens of times I brought my girls there. For years. The requisite statue photos. The rocks for climbing on. The playground and animals and bamboo forest, all of it. And so much new stuff now that they haven’t seen yet, being grown.

    I am so glad you got to spend the last day of summer vacation with your teens doing something so great. Big hugs for the new school year!! Thank you for sharing this.

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