Nine years…that’s how long that damned sandlot has been causing us grief.

Day after day the sandlot dictates our routine…come home, take off your shoes, shake the sand out, brush the sand out of your arms and hair.

Yet, we found sand everywhere in the house every day.

Why do schools feel it necessary to have a sandlot anyway?

First, it was our oldest, and his big shoes; amazingly enough, it was our youngest, with the smaller feet who set the standard for sand carried home from school.

When there were two coming home from that damned sandlot, it was a ten minute chore to get the sand out.

Then one went off to Middle School, where the sandlot is just not cool, and that sandlot suddenly wasn’t the unbeatable foe that it had been.

Today, we picked up my youngest; the last day of school for Mrs. M’s Fifth grade class. On to Middle School for our baby, and High School for our oldest.

I thought that it would be nice to be there, to pick him up one last time, and someone needed to drive Mom home anyway.

Then we saw it…incredible.

On the last day of school, the County had dumped two massive piles of fresh sand in the sandlot, and there they were…the five amigos, my youngest and his crew, rolling down the piles of sand like they didn’t have a care in the world.

I have to hand it to that old sandlot, it was going out of our lives in a blaze of glory.

It lives to fight another day.

We wiped the boys down before they got in the car…Trey had more sand on those skinny boy legs of theirs than you would think humanly possible; my youngest had sand in places you don’t normally get sand in unless you’re surfing, and the amount of sand we dumped on the grass outside would nicely decorate a small fish tank.

But now, finally, we are done. The enemy of these past nine years, the damned sandlot is no longer a threat; sandlots are not cool when you are in Middle School.

Now, we won’t have to dump sand from shoes before we enter the house any more, and there won’t be unexplained sand piles on the carpet, no mysterious sand in the backpacks, and no shakedowns before anyone gets in the car.

The sandlot is gone from our lives forever.

Our old nemesis lies defeated at last.

Then it hits me like a ton of bricks.

Damn…I’m going to miss that old sandlot. I am going to miss it a lot.

I miss it already.