Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Long Wave Goodbye

For the first time in months the big old tray that carries dinner to the front porch sat unused while the girls set the table in the dining room. Mary was sent to the back deck for rosemary, not basil. And dinner was served in a bowl, potato soup, with nary a tomato in sight. It happens just that fast.

My mother, a morose sort who fancies herself a deep and insightful thinker, has always said of September, yuck. It's death to me, or something along those lines, meaning that she can't see the apple forest for the dead trees. She has been known to throw open the back door on Columbus Day, wave her arms wildly, and scream "you are dead to me". Generally the trees ignore her, as do I. September is crisp and clear and full of apples and sweaters and football. And now, for the first time in years, September is back to school.

Not that I was ready, saying goodbye is not one of my strengths, in fact it falls far onto the fault side. The last day of vacation, the last day of Christmas break, the last blueberry, I'm morose in my own way. And as much as it pains me (and it really does, season changes wreak havoc on old creaky joints now) to wave goodbye to the beach, I jump headfirst into school, once I get past the actual march into the building on the first day. To note, I cried like it was kindergarten, and moped around all day waiting for the madness to come home.

The madness came home a little more tame. Mary, previously unable to sit still for more than 3 minutes, sat in the kitchen and read for almost 2 hours. Kate worked diligently on first day home work, writing sentences from words missed on a Day One spelling test. For the first time they are apart, in two different rooms on two different floors, and, while they were not initially thrilled with the idea, absence does seem to make the heart grow fonder. They will find their way, individually now, although they did insist on dressing identically on the first day, so that "they would know we were twins".

Waving goodbye to the lazy ways of summer is hard, those long and order free days with little to do and no time frame to do it in are difficult to resist. But vacations end, structure is good, and apple pie is better. Sweaters, jackets and backpacks are crowding the beach towels in the front closet, new shoes have replaced the sandals, the linen is ready to be packed away. September is not dead to me, it's a new beginning, a chance to shed the old and work on the new, even if it's in different rooms with different teachers. Let the learning begin!

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