The end of summer is always bitter sweet.

The end of summer is always bitter sweet.


It is marked by the start of another school year and signifies routines and order again. It is also the time of year when Maddie and Mason go back to live with their dad in International Falls for the school year.


For the past four years, Mason and Maddie, have convened on our household from early June until mid-August.


After going nine months of the school year with a quiet house, Hubby and I are excited for the house to bustle with kids again.


The first few weeks to a month are an adjustment period for all of us. Usually by July we have a routine and the summer flows.


On Saturday, Aug. 11, Mason and I will part ways as he goes up north to participate in cross-country practice. Maddie will follow on Aug. 17.


I say this every year, but this summer was, by far, the best summer we have had together. We were able to get into a routine early in the summer and the remainder of the summer flowed with a sense of intensity.


We were busy enough that there was seldom an opportunity to complain about boredom.


Maybe some of that has to do with them getting older. Mason, 14, and Maddie, 10, seem to be maturing into fine young adults by the minute. In two years Mason will be a licensed driver. Yikes!


He has also decided to stop cutting his hair for the summer. Two summers ago his bangs were long enough to tickle his nose by the end of the summer. For the remainder of the summer Hubby and I called him Mason Bieber in hopes that it would get him to at least go in for a trim. Since then, Justin Bieber has cut his hair and our son has not.


I’ve learned to pick my battles, and this is not one of them.


Mason will be a freshman in high school this fall. He said this year he wished the summer would have lasted longer. Me too, son, me too.


Maddie, however, can’t wait to start fifth grade.

In years past she has brought with her the list of school supplies she will need for the start of school in the fall. Each time we are shopping she reminds me that she still needs her school supplies. The day we finally go shopping for her will be almost as good as Christmas I have a feeling.


For the past several year’s Hubby has graciously (and sometimes not so graciously) allowed Mason to co-inhabit the man cave.


The first year it happened, Hubby didn’t have a decent night’s sleep the entire summer. We came home from work one day to find Mason in the man cave. Pop cans, snack wrappers and dirty dishes adorned the floor and any available space.


“I don’t care if he’s in my man cave, but I want him to keep it clean and respect the decor,” Hubby explained. “I’m finally getting my man cave decorated how I want it.” 


We sat Mason down and had a talk with him about our expectations of the man cave slash bedroom. For several years the litter of a pre-teen continued through the summer. Hubby nearly vibrated with nerves.


And then something interesting happened this year.

The man cave was kept clean as a whistle.


One night Mason even invited us to watch a movie in the man cave slash bedroom, “for old times sake.” But first we had to wait outside while Mason took a few moments to vacuum and pick up the place.


As Hubby and I waited outside the door to be allowed to enter, I raised my eyebrows and shook my head.


“I’m impressed. He keeps it cleaner than you,” I mentioned to Hubby.


Hubby snorted in reply.


I think that means Mason has set a new standard for the man cave.