September is like being shot out of a cannon.
Or maybe it’s like being born, shot out of the womb, from cozy, watery comfort to the bright, noisy light of back-to-school, chilly mornings.
Or maybe it’s like somebody dumping ice water down your back, or lifting you out of bed and placing you on a cold toilet seat, which is how Aviva started her first day of school.
I’ve written about it before – the inexplicable depression that can settle over me despite some of the season’s most spectacular weather.
It’s the season of kavanah, a word that comes from the Hebrew root meaning” to direct, intend, focus.”
Today, Aviva did not want to go to school, her second day of first grade. Her throat hurt. Her tummy hurt. She was tired. There was no getting her off the couch, out from under the worn white comforter.
I determined to be “firm and kind,” in Parenting on Track speak. Stay available to her. Not go down the slippery slope. And also totally prepared for her to go to school in her pj’s.
Sweet girl, who pushes me away. Sweet girl, who climbs in my lap at the baseball game, wolfing down her second hot dog, on top of the world. Sweet girl, who misses her kindergarten teacher but couldn’t possible express that in words. Sweet girl, who either fiercely needs me or fiercely rejects me.
It is all too tempting to get snarky. So easy to give in to impatience. Nearly impossible not to have waves of melancholy this time of year with its shifting rhythms. Loss is in the air this time of year. The anniversary of my Aunt Nancy’s death. Windows closing. Digging for winter gear. That annual sense of going inward, preparing.
You know the Leo Lionni book about Frederick the mouse? While all of the other mice are industriously getting ready for winter, collecting food and wood, the poet Frederick is collecting colors and words and dreams to sustain his friends through the long, cold, dark winter.
Sometimes I feel like Frederick. Like everyone else is busy working while I am collecting words, or dreaming, or puttering. Yesterday I felt positively homesick, like all I wanted to do was hang out with my sisters, sit in my mom’s kitchen on the heater. Go back, back, back home. Back to being taken care of. Back into the womb, thank you very much.
It is beautiful out. Weird to say this, but it’s like 9/11 weather – remember how gorgeous a morning that was? Crisp and clear.
September. It’s like PMS. Every month, it happens. And every month, I forget it happens and am blindsided by it.
I spent the last couple of weeks bellyaching about the lack of structure. WHEN DOES AVIVA GO BACK TO SCHOOL??? I bellowed on Facebook to anyone who would listen. And here we are, there she is. Once again, I am reminded to let each day be what it is, filled with ocean waves enough to rock anyone’s boat.
And then, if I’m very still, I hear Frederick the poet-mouse whispering this advice: Go outside. Do it now, while the sun is shining and strong. Collect it in tincans and buckets, on slate and stone. Let it soak into your skin, carry it deep in your bones. It will sustain you.