One of my child care little ones is dozing on the couch, snuggled in a blanket that has followed me from home to home since college. She has an early start and I’m glad she can have some rest before the business of our day begins. My son is happily chomping a cheese stick and practicing his signs, following along to the cheerful songs of the show Signing Time. I am in the kitchen sniffing out the perfect seasoning for a vegetarian version of chicken noodle soup; I settle on thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf or two. It’s a cloudy and cool day that feels like rain, soup is like a warm hug in this dreary weather. The end of August is always a difficult time; when my big kids head off to other adventures, each taking a piece of my heart with them. I hope I have prepared them for all of the things that await them in this next exciting chapter and that they will always carry with them a thirst for learning. It’s an exciting time too. Brand new little ones will step through the door as the warm weather fades and summer makes space for fall. They will become acquainted with the quiet nooks and crannies of the Monarch Woods during our forest adventures, learn the joy of singing with our music instructor, and listen with rapt attention to stories I have told a thousand times before. With the fall comes conflicting feelings of joy and sadness. Despite the goodbyes that break my heart, the new hellos always manage to mend it again.