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KALIS: The changing of the shin guards, and other fall transitions

• Sep 19, 2017 at 3:00 PM

OK, OK, I give. Summer’s over and I have to come to terms with it.

Not that I don’t like fall. I mean, what’s not to like about autumn in West Michigan? Sure, you might have to throw on a sweatshirt and open your sock drawer again, but the beautiful colors, cider and doughnuts, apple picking — it’s all great stuff!

It’s just that before I can embrace it, it takes me a while to accept that summer’s come to an end. I always think there’s going to be one more boat ride, one more day at the beach, and then eventually I realize that that one more day isn’t coming.

Of course, to help with this difficult transition for me, is the distraction of another seasonal change — back to school.

Forcing your family into a schedule that is much easier to shun than to reinstate takes some definite effort. There are a lot of glazed-over eyes going on, and delirious, nonsensical statements being made, for at least two weeks into the new school year. Dishes pile up, dinners are all over the place, kids are pulling things out of the hamper to wear, and extreme creativity is needed to put something together that remotely resembles a lunch.

It takes some adjusting, too, after you get used to your kids being home again and then suddenly they’re gone. You don’t just have to say goodbye to summer, you also have to say goodbye to your kids.

Before my son headed back to high school, we moved my daughter to Ann Arbor for her sophomore year at the University of Michigan. This transition seemed to go much more smoothly than moving her in as a freshman. Perhaps that’s because she never got around to unpacking half the boxes she had brought home from college the previous year. So, we just picked them up and put them back in the car. Boy, you hate to reward laziness, but it sure did make life easier in this case!

After we got her all squared away and returned back home, the house felt empty — literally and figuratively. Luckily, another distracting transition takes place this time of year as well — the start of school sports.

For us, this means a changing of the shin guards, from summer hockey to fall soccer — then back to hockey shin guards, then soccer shin guards, and back and forth and back and forth. This overlap of sports pretty much takes over our lives for a while, and sometimes I don’t even know if I’m heading to a rink or a field until I get there. What I do know is there’s a never-ending pile of uniforms to be washed and lot of stinky equipment surrounding me at all times.

Of course, as if all these transitions weren’t enough, beyond warmer weather turning cool, leaves changing from green to vibrant colors, kids heading back to school, sports kicking in, and reluctantly letting go of summer, I added yet another adjustment to the list. You know, I figured, why not? What’s one more transition to make?

So, in September, I started a new job. Yeah, I know, the timing was crazy, but the switch was good for me and for my family. I miss my old co-workers, but I’m meeting a whole new crew of great people and enjoying a much more flexible schedule, which is awesome. At the same time, though, it does take some adjusting.

So, while back-to-school distracts me from having to give up summer, and school sports distract me from having my kids go back to school, a new job is distracting me from all of the above! In short, I’m pretty much nuts right now, but after a while I’m sure I’ll get into a groove — sure, that will probably happen just in time for me to transition into winter — but hey, I’ll cross that icy road when I come to it!

— By Kelly Kalis, Tribune community columnist

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