The end of summer means buying a host of school supplies, like paper towels and brand-specific glue sticks, and watching Robert carefully arrange them in his new Lightning McQueen backpack so that no distending parts impede the zipper.
The end of summer means no more enslavement to inept weather forecasts.
The end of summer means skipping out of work to run back home and walk Robert to his first day of kindergarten, and listening to him talk his way out of being so desperately nervous.
The end of summer means feeling Robert's iron grip on my fingers and wonder if I'll ever play the piano again.
The end of summer means taking a few dozen pictures of him in front of his new school before he finally turns away in a huff and refuses to pose anymore.
The end of summer means walking him to his new classroom, seeing him run to his friend Eric, and watching them size up all the building materials along the back wall.
The end of summer means marveling at a little boy who is youngmanifying before my eyes, as in stop-action photography. It means looking at Lightning McQueen, and all the hero worship he embodies, and thinking about the actor who tried to kill himself last week.
The end of summer means thinking about the veneer that parents build to protect their young children from cold, hard reality, and acknowledging that it's just starting to flake off.
The end of summer means throwing away that nasty old pair of blue shorts, because they make me look like I have no ass.