I have always loved September – the beginning of the school year, new books, classes, and friends, the fresh start, the possibilities. I always began the school year with resolutions: I’ll be more organized; I won’t get into trouble with the teacher.
By Elizabeth Ellis
I have always loved September – the beginning of the school year, new books, classes, and friends, the fresh start, the possibilities. I always began the school year with resolutions: I’ll be more organized; I won’t get into trouble with the teacher. I felt an auspicious beginning — like waking up on a beautiful morning, my favorite time of the day.
I got married in September, one of the happiest days of my life. My first son was born in September, probably the happiest day of my life. As my children grew, the first day of nursery school and kindergarten was thrilling for all of us. For me, it brought back my first days of school, the teachers, the friends, the accomplishments, the snack time. For the children, the feeling of being grown up and independent.
However, this month my feelings have been mingled with nostalgia, an intense sentimental longing for the past. The Greek root for the word nostalgia is “return home” plus “pain”. And pain is exactly what has crept into my body. I look at my growing children, no longer little boys beginning nursery school, and at least one of them almost a man, starting college.
Where did that time go? I want it back.
Watching family videos is excruciating. Those little voices, no longer heard. One video is especially agonizing. It is my oldest son’s 5th birthday, we are out in the park and I am trying to hang the piñata with ten 5-year olds swarming me. My son keeps repeating, “Mommy, I want to tell you something”, and, at least for the duration of the video, I never let him tell me because I am so overwhelmed with managing the tasks at hand. And I know that was not the only time I was less than 100 percent present with my very young and very closely spaced children. I didn’t have the time to answer ALL of their questions or to delight with them EACH time they showed a sense of wonder at the banal – a leaf turning red, the neighbor’s dog.
Why didn’t I listen to them more, why didn’t I slow down and do less, instead of racing from one thing to the next?
But, we can’t go back, nor do we really want to. It is also a delight and an intense satisfaction to see our children become confident adults.
I love seeing my boys mature and I revel in the grown-up discussions we now have – politics, current events, the environment.
I have gotten better at cherishing each moment, listening to them more and trying not to rush through the day’s events. I won’t say that I look forward to the day when they are all out of the house and independent, but I do look forward to seeing what kind of men they will become. I see so much potential in each of them and I can’t wait to be as proud of their adult accomplishments as I was of their childhood ones. I daydream about getting to know the partners they end up choosing and the children they will hopefully have. All the possibilities — the auspicious beginnings, just like Septembers and mornings.
When my thoughts end here, I am hopeful, optimistic and ready to make those resolutions again to be better at whatever tasks life brings my way.