Back-to-school commercials bum me out.

I'm not ready for "back to school." And as much as I love fall boots and not having to keep up with pedicures - as much as I love fall itself - I'm not ready for it.

I'm sure it seems like this every year, that summer is over before it even feels like it should have started. But the older I get, the truer this is. I just want to pause time for a while. As summer starts winding down, I wonder if I've played with the kids as much as I could. Did we go to the park enough? Swim enough? Have enough fun? I do this kind of thing all the time, though. I'm always second-guessing my parenting abilities and wondering if there's more I could've - or should've - done.

We've played outside a lot this summer...rode bikes, gone to the playground, looked for bugs, ran through the sprinkler, gone swimming, colored with sidewalk chalk, gone to soccer camp, Vacation Bible School, and karate, splashed in rainy day puddles...then there were indoor activities for rainier days, like coloring and painting...I guess we really have done a lot.

So I don't know why I always feel this way when something comes to an end...this feeling of panic mixed with depression...this feeling that I didn't do all that I could. Maybe it's not just me who gets this feeling.

I think time really does go faster the older you get. We take time for granted so often. I just want to hold on to as much time with my babies as I can. I never want to let them go. The ending of another summer just means to beginning of another school year, the passing of another whole year, then they're another year older and more independent from me. And of course this is exactly what's supposed to happen. As I watched them sing one night at Vacation Bible School, so happy and young and innocent, I had tears in my eyes because I know these years are precious. I just want to make sure I'm appreciating them for all that they're worth.

The fact that I care this much, I think, does prove how much I appreciate everything. I love every picture they paint me, every flower they pick me, every new thing they learn that they excitedly show me. No, part of me doesn't want them growing up. But I know it only gets better and better. They'll keep learning and continue to amaze me with what they know. And no matter how old they are and regardless of what they say, they will always be my babies. That makes me feel better.

Picking up school supplies may not be so sad now.