The Kids are Alright: In With the New

I love this time of year in my adopted hometown. The cornfields stretch out over the acres like golden, rippling oceans; the fruit hangs heavy on the trees, begging me to turn my kitchen into an oasis of sweet and sticky baked goods, and the evenings, still dominated by the insects’ songs, are just cool enough to feel the need to wrap yourself up in a cozy sweater.

There is still romance in the rural life for me, and this, our third autumn here, is proving to be just as restorative, invigorating and salubrious as our first.

A new school year has begun, and for the first time ever, I will be at home while both of my kids are in school. For my kids, this means long days away and the need for routine, security and some decompression once they come home. I feel blessed and privileged to be able to offer them that.

For me, this new schedule means entire days unstructured but dedicated to writing, days I can spend doing exactly what I’ve dreamed of doing for many years.

The realization of our entire move to Chatham is coming to fruition, and much like the children waiting for the bell to ring on the first day of school, I am tingling with anticipation, excitement and a certain amount of anxiety. While the last two years, with my youngest daughter home, gave me a huge sense of purpose, not to mention structure, we knew that time was temporary. We knew that eventually, my little one would be going to school full-time and that once again, life would change drastically.

And now that time is here, and we are all adjusting. My older daughter is just about to enter the tween years, and grasps at any opportunity to prove her independence. Reluctantly, but with great pride, I move out of her way so she can reach, unimpeded.

My younger daughter walks the school halls daily now, thriving but, I can see, contending with the desire to be a ‘big girl,’ versus the desire to still lay down for an afternoon nap.

And my husband is adjusting to having me dedicate all of my time now to the ‘work’ part of being a work-at-home mum, the quiet of our separate focus replacing the summer’s boisterous noise in our shared spaces. We startle each other when we meet in the kitchen, but enjoy the moment or two of uninterrupted conversation as we sip our coffee that I now get to drink while it is still hot.

And like the kids now off to school, the excitement of newness will soon dissolve into a flurry of due dates and responsibilities; of small stresses and large ideas; of chances taken and chances missed, and of potential for disappointment tempered by potential for tremendous joy.

I’ll watch as the leaves change and float to the cool ground, but I won’t lament the summer’s end or the growing of children no longer mine during the day. I’ll take my cue from the kids in the schoolyard, and we’ll pile the leaves as high as we can. We’ll hold hands, and we’ll let the leaves muffle our shrieks of joy as we jump right in.

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