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Bittersweet Fall

(Credit to Mama In the City, whose new year post inspired me to write).

There is something glorious about fall, a season of harvest and thanksgiving and preparation for winter.  It's simultaneously a time of winding down and a time of beginning anew.  It's crunchy leaves underfoot, cinnamon and apple spices, golden yellows and crimson reds, cool brisk winds and blue-filtered skies contrasted with the warm earthy tones of trees shedding their summer skins.

The season is also inextricably linked with school in my mind, for this is how my time has been delineated since I entered the classroom as a kindergartener.  As a student, the season was marked with great anticipation for the school year ahead.  It meant a return to routine after a summer full of playing, and it was oft accompanied by productive shopping trips to the mall, new clothes and sneakers, and my favourite - brand spanking new school supplies checked off the list.  Then there was the whole experience of a new grade, and wondering which friends I would spend the year with, and hoping that the teacher would be interesting.  Bulletin boards arrayed with apples and pumpkins and scarecrows and back-to-school buses enticed my curious little eyes, and the new books and binders, with their uncreased spines and inviting white pages, were my own personal challenges to keep my belongings pristine. I can still smell the air of my childhood autumn, and hear the laughter of my friends on the playground as the crisp breezes sent slight shivers down my back.

When I became a teacher, the experience of autumn changed drastically with my role.  Though anticipation remained, the days and weeks leading up to the start of a "new year" (and for us, September is always when the year begins) were wrought with the busyness of planning and preparing and praying; there were meetings to attend, last-minute changes to accommodate, decorations to buy, classrooms to ready and lessons to design and refine.  I would say that there was a frenetic pace within the school as administrators, teachers and support staff rushed about to get our respective spaces ready for the influx of little people just days away.  But it was always an exciting pace, one that energized me.  And once school started, about two weeks into things, I would find myself outside on supervision duty, watching children hanging upside down from monkey bars and running around laughing and squealing, and I would exhale.  With this breath, the stress and worry over those first few days and weeks would dissipate, and as I inhaled the same crisp breeze that I'd known from childhood, I would remember that everything was okay, and would be okay, for the next ten months.

So it is that this September will be bittersweet, because I am neither student nor teacher.  I will not be wandering the hallowed halls with my childhood eyes wide with wonder, nor will I be memorizing faces to accompany the names that I had typed and written out over and over again for days and weeks beforehand.  Though the scents and colours and sounds of autumn remain, I will be experiencing these in the capacity of a mother, and an outsider as far as "school" is concerned.  There will be no "new beginning" because my days and weeks will continue to blur into one another as they have for the past few seasons; despite the shift in seasons outside my windows, I remain in the same season of motherhood, and will dwell here until my baby begins school one day.  And on that day, I will only re-enter this magical season vicariously, through my daughter.

Hopefully God intends for me to be able to enjoy autumn as teacher once more, or if He wills, as student one more time.  I dare not look that far ahead, lest I miss out on the wonders of today and this blessed time I am able to enjoy with my little girl.  So often I find myself racing forward and missing the moments that God has given to me, to us.  Thus, with great intention I make conscious and deliberate effort to live in this moment, in this day, and in this season.  And while I am here, I will point my baby to the beautiful hues, cool winds, delicious scents, and joyful sounds of the season, in the hopes that she might one day build her own fond memories of fall.


Comments

~Rain``` said…
Totally relate. I felt similar when my daughter was little. Now I welcome the Falls at home, knowing that it will pass way too soon!
This post just made me feel cozy and safe. I love autumn. And that photo is stunning. And the one of the trees is nice too. ;)

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