The end of summer seems to have crept up on us unexpectedly, even though I've been thinking about it for weeks.
Suddenly the nights and mornings are cooler again. The fireflies in the garden are no more; their disappearance coincided with the start of a deafening chorus of cicadas and crickets at night. The lawn is scattered with tiny acorns, half chewed by squirrels; the Littleboys collect them with glee. The hydrangeas, just starting to bloom when we moved in, are dry and brown.
Next weekend will be Labor Day, when by all accounts, American summer traditionally comes to an abrupt end; however warm it may be, there are no more lifeguards on the beach, the town pool closes and everyone goes back to school. (I've also been told that it's a tradition that no-one wears white after Labor Day - not that I wear it very often, with two small boys wielding ketchup bottles in the vicinity). The aisle in the supermarket that was selling paddling pools and coolboxes is now full of toy Halloween pumpkins (although I really can't believe that anyone, even in America, buys Halloween stuff in August. Do they?).
It will be weird, because pretty well ever since we've been here, it has been summer. My weekdays in the US have revolved around finding ways to keep the Littleboys cool - ice creams, sprinklers, beaches - and religiously applying suncream to their little arms and legs. We've eaten a diet of barbecues and salads; striven to keep the house cool with a daily ritual of opening windows and turning on fans and airconditioners, plus frantically closing doors to protect us from the mosquitoes (something I am definitely not going to miss). It has, by all accounts, been a relatively cool summer for New York, but to me it has felt incredibly warm after two dismal London summers.
But now, 'Fall' is almost upon us. The Littleboys will be starting preschool, and I will be starting to look for work again. Finally, we will have a kind of routine instead of randomly pottering to the park, library or beach every day. I also feel as if we will be starting to live American life for real, after a strange kind of honeymoon period. The boys will make new friends, people from nursery that I don't know, and probably start speaking with American accents. Already little words are creeping in; Littleboy 1 told me the other day that a discarded apple core was 'garbage'. (I feel sad about this - I like their little British accents and would really quite like to be Mummy, not Mommy, for a bit longer.)
It's exciting, and it's also pretty scary. Time for a whole new chapter.