I posted a poll of sorts on Facebook this morning. I asked my friends to fill in the blank. September is _______.
The answers were interesting. Of course my sample size was small. Some people answered as if they were filling in what I would say. Others, what they love about the month. Some were insightful. Some simply stated the obvious. What does September mean to you?
I've always loved September. My favorite month by far. Mostly because of the weather. The season of change with warm days and cool nights. The humidity goes away. Sweater weather approaches! The colors of nature start to literally burst. The symbolism of the harvest time. The colors and smells of the season. The leaves start to turn and gently fall. The sound of the leaves crunching beneath your feet is so soothing to me. The light gets softer as the sun angle lowers. I swear, things glow in September. Apple picking, eating and of course, cider and crisp! Cider donuts!! Pumpkins and hay bales to decorate with. I love to be outside in September. The days are getting shorter and the animals are preparing for the winter. Gathering and enjoying the cooler weather themselves in playful anticipation. Oh, how I used to love to jump in the leaves. Wait. I still do!
I love the new beginnings September brings. As a kid, shopping for back to school supplies and clothes, the excitement of embarking on a new adventure, the opportunity to make THIS year the best one ever made this month one that was met with great anticipation and excitement. The change of seasons seems to inspire a change for the better. A chance to start anew.
September is also my birthday month. In fact, it is a VERY popular birth day month! Seems a whole lot of people conceive babies around the holidays. Don't believe me? Do the math! :-) I'm guilty of it myself as my eldest son is also a September birthday! As it is for several of my cousins and friends, too! It is also the month of the birth of my maternal grandmother and the death of my paternal grandmother, would you believe, on the same day. That same day is also my wedding anniversary. Something about the 22nd... It's also the month of the death of an uncle, he was born on the spring equinox and died on the autumnal equinox. The symbolism of which is not lost on me, but now is not the time to delve into that.
Then there are the anniversaries! It's a popular month to get married! Heck, I did it. Twice, even! My sister's anniversary is also in September.
Every year in September, I also find myself getting nostalgic and introspective. Not just because of the history aforementioned, but because ever since my daughter died, it has been a very different experience. I am keenly aware of what she (and therefore, I) am missing. My birthday is not the same. I used to love celebrating my birthday. Now, it's more of a trigger day for me. There is no little voice to sing 'happy bird day' to me or her brother. There is no back to school shopping for her. It is a time of new beginnings, yes, but a stark reminder that these were not the new beginnings I had imagined I'd be having every September. I also find myself reflecting on my first marriage, also in September. If only I knew then...
This month is also the beginning of the last third of the year. The third I both love and hate the most. I love September with all my heart but it marks the beginning of the holiday season, at least in retail (don't even get me started!) It marks the beginning of when I find it difficult to go into a department store and not be triggered. I start to avoid them. The upside of this is I save money and I get my shopping done early and on line!
September, obviously, leads to October. October is always the beginning of my darker days and not just in terms of daylight. Halloween is not the same when I planned to have a lifetime of Halloween parties to celebrate the birth of my twins. The month where I am slapped in the face with the fact I see one where two should have always been. Where I must celebrate the birth of two, but with only one. Where we have our annual cupcake picnic at the cemetery instead of at our kitchen table. October leads to November, where gratitude is tempered with sadness and November to December and well, let's just skip December and move right to January, OK?
What I love about September now is the new routine it brings. Soccer for my boys, which has the added benefit of getting me outside more, now, if the weather could please cooperate on game days. Yes, I'm talking to you, Mother Nature! I look forward to planning birthday dinners and festivities for my eldest son and his younger brother, whose birthday is in October. Celebrating my first anniversary this year with the love of my life and perhaps a long weekend get-away for us. Definitely a new and positive contribution to the month! Remembering my grandmother, who was with us on our wedding day to celebrate her 86th birthday last year, and this year, is no longer with us, having died in May. Our anniversary will be bittersweet. It will also be spent at a soccer field. :-)
I shall try to focus on the energy of autumn. The energy of the harvest. Of reaping what has been sewn. Of seeing the fruits of my labor. Perhaps that will be in the form of a few chapters of that book actually getting written. I have new teaching opportunities, speaking opportunities and training for that half-marathon and personal accomplishment to keep me, quite literally, putting one foot in front of the other. As the leaves start to turn and fall, I will do my best to be present in what the season has to offer. The old and the new, creating a new 'normal'.
And, if all else fails, you can find me curled up on the couch, with a blanket and some hot apple crisp! It is the one month I might forego the chocolate in favor of the fruit of the month!