It’s September. Glorious, blue-skied, crisp September in Maine. If, as T.S. Eliot says, April is the “cruelest month”, September is the kindest. I can take the girls for a walk without sweat running into my eyeballs, and the sunshine is clear and golden, the haze of summer lifted. Okay so also my allergies are attacking the very core of my being and creating their own kind of haze, but overall, September is lovely.
All around me, the world is school-bound. The big yellow buses roar past my house every day. The college students are back in town, sauntering around barefoot (?) in some cases and tripping along in their cute new skinny jeans in others. Facebook is a collective scrapbook of emotional Kindergarten-mom posts, toothless first day of school grins, and harried anecdotes from teachers who have jumped back into the fray.
For as long as I can remember, I too was part of back-to-school season. First of course, there was preschool through high school. Then I went to college. Then graduate school. While I was in grad school, I taught preschool. Then I taught high school for six years. I have spent almost all of my life as either a student, a teacher, or both. But these last three Septembers (god, has it really been that long?!?) have seen me here, doing the mom thing, still rocking my flip flops and thinking it was summer until I realized in October that there were leaves on the ground and the girls really ought to be wearing warmer pajamas.
The first September that I wasn’t extolling the virtues of complete sentences to a bunch of teenagers at 7:30 every morning, I was too caught up in the newness of my life to really even notice or care. I was a new mom, in a new home, with a whole new set of priorities and responsibilities. The twins were six months old and things were, quite frankly, pretty great. The following September, I was seven months pregnant but still hauling the double stroller in and out of the car, lugging the twins around, and being really, really, really tired. I don’t think I gave a shit about the beauty of September.
This September though, this is the sweet spot. For my little girls and me, this is the last September of wearing our pajamas till noon on a Tuesday. Of postponing nap so we can play outside after lunch. Of not worrying about it if they don’t go to bed until 9 because they can sleep late in the morning if they want. Next September, I will send the twins to preschool, and for the next eleventy-million years, I will be ruled once more by the timetables of school (which have been, by the way, created entirely by freakish morning-people. The kind of morning-people who eat cooked breakfasts, work out and then come into school early to get some work done before teaching their first class at 7:30 a.m. You know who you are, former colleagues of mine. Somewhere in a parallel universe, people like me are the ones making up school schedules. Can you even imagine, gasp, starting high school classes at the civilized hour of 9? I know. Your brains just exploded, didn’t they?)
I’m going to try to appreciate the unscheduled time that I have with my kiddos this fall. Today, I was feeling a little guilty that my kids are still wearing their pj’s as they take their afternoon nap. The pj’s are covered with marker and macaroni and cheese, but who really cares? We had a pretty good morning. We read new books, colored some fantastic pictures, and played Hoarders by cramming all the toys into the entryway. (Okay maybe that was just Captain Chaos.) The twins watched Daniel Tiger’s [Remarkably Diverse and Friendly] Neighborhood while The Baby napped so that I could take a shower. They trapped The Baby under their slide and brought masses of toy food to her for a “picnic,” and I have never seen all three of them play together so happily before.
So even though September brings with it tomorrow’s difficult anniversary, it remains a beautiful month. I don’t generally think of any part of my family’s life as lazy, exactly, but that’s what I’m going to call this month: our last lazy September. Maybe it will help me remember to breathe, to be calm, and to appreciate not having to rush everyone out the door to school. Yet.