Chloe and Sophie return to school tomorrow as 7th and 3rd graders. I have friends and family – parents who are more or less my age, mind you – whose children are already in college or high school. And I both envy them and pity them. But when I think about my girls and the fact that one of them is going to be 13 in a few short months and the other is going to turn eight in a couple of weeks, I feel like I’m in a car without brakes.
The summer flew by. It was indeed a great summer, one that lived up to the impossibly high expectations I set for it last winter. The girls are a bit taller, a bit more tan, a wee bit more cultured and as intolerant of each other as they’ve always been. Some things truly never change.
We woke up this morning to a beautiful day that cried for us to enjoy the warm weather and clear blue sky. A last hurrah, so to speak, before Chloe and Sophie hop onto their respective buses tomorrow morning and we dive right back into the frenetic routine of school, homework and activities that we eagerly left behind in June.
We decided that apple picking would be the appropriate way to mark the end of the summer and the beginning of school. It had been a few years since our last apple picking adventure and this time we decided to try an orchard we’ve never visited before, Maskers Orchards in New York.
The place is huge, with more than a dozen varieties on offer (although only a few were ready this early in the season). The owners encourage picnics on site and plenty of people set up tables and blankets amidst the trees to eat elaborate lunches that were, of course, capped off by apples. Chloe immediately decided that this was the orchard to beat because visitors are free to gorge themselves on as many apples as they’d like while picking the fruit off the tree. As we strolled through the rows of green accented by red spheres, it felt like I had walked into the first pages of Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree,” except multiplied by thousands.
I’ve been saying for years that red delicious apples are a misnomer because they have absolutely no taste. My brood finally had a chance to agree with me when they sampled one in an attempt to prove me wrong. Instead, we filled our bags with incredibly succulent macintosh and prime reds.
While neither Chloe nor Sophie would ever be caught dead giving apples to their teachers, we now have 25 pounds of the fruit for school lunches, tart-making and snacking. By the time we’re done eating all of them, we probably won’t want to see any more apples again until the girls prepare to begin 8th and 4th grade. Stop the clock, please!