All signs point to Fall, it seems. I’ve noticed the change in the light – less of it, to be sure, but also, the position of the sun has moved (or rather, our position relative to it, but that’s not the way it looks from Earth). And my thoughts are undeniably more fall-focused than they usually are during August, which is generally my favorite month of the year, because it’s typically also the hottest. I’ve begun thinking of stews and chili and roasts cooking low and slow. I want potatoes, which is surely a sign of my body wanting to already start putting back on the few pounds I typically lose in warmer weather. I was the thinnest I’ve ever been when I lived in Los Angeles, partly due to the warmer weather for sure. But also because nobody eats anything out there except dry salad and diet soda, and I worked out every day for like 2 hours.
Fall will now also mean “back to school” for me from now on. My son has been in daycare or preschool continuously since he was three months old, but now he will become a school boy, and I will have the arduous task of trying to figure out where he can go all day long during the summer months and not fall off a cliff or get attacked by a nest of hornets (the latter happened to me at camp). He’s growing out of his shoes again, just in time for Mom to take him out school shopping for new ones, just like my Mom did. We didn’t often get a lot of new stuff, but we usually got a couple of new outfits for the new school year, and Mom tried hard to make sure we always had new shoes, since used ones are so bad for little growing feet. I remember sweating in school because I was so anxious to wear my new clothes that I’d have on a long-sleeved shirt and sweater when it was still 80 degrees during the day. And blisters from walking to and from school in the shoes I was still breaking in. It’s a different time in America. My child won’t be walking to and from school, or else someone would probably call CPS on me. And his steadfast refusal to learn to ride a bike yet eliminates that as an option. All in good time.
I’m fighting the coming Fall as I am the aging another year that comes with it. I feel each year now, it seems, and see it more in my face. I see the skin that’s wrinkled on the upper area of my chest now, and the dark indentations I have to work harder to cover up under my eyes, and can almost see time marching on every day. But I have this boy to keep up with. We had a dance party last night, which is basically my excuse to make him get some additional exercise beyond what he received during the two recesses they have at preschool. He wears me out, that kid, but he also keeps me going.
Three weeks from today, he will officially be in kindergarten. My little boy, in that big school, with nobody he has known from preschool going along with him – they are all going off to private schools. I’m now grateful for having joined the PTA as I know that there will be PTA Moms there the first week helping the K kids transition in – helping them find their class’ table in the lunchroom, helping them open their drinks or find their way if they seem lost, helping them to where they wait for pickup by bus or a parent’s car. I’m glad that our world isn’t so cold that they’re just thrown to the wolves and left to figure it out. I had my older sister to guide me; elementary was the only school we were actually able to attend at the same time until we both had an overlapping semester together years later at Kent State – her on her way out and me on my way in. She showed me the ropes in elementary, I’m sure, and did so again at Kent. How to sell your food coupon booklets and then take the bus to the grocery store to buy real food. That the sandwiches at Eastland weren’t that bad, or pizza at the Rat, if you had to eat on campus. Where to go to buy books and what bars to avoid if you hated fluff chicks. My little D has no older sibling to guide his way, but he’s also much more brave than I was, and more honest. If he’s scared, he’ll say so and tell someone. Preschool has taught him how to follow rules and seek out an adult if something is wrong, among other valuable lessons, and I just have to assume it will all be ok.
Fall brings an unsettled feeling for me as well, as my hatred of winter is so intense, I start anticipating it’s unwanted arrival months before it actually gets there. This is the time of year I stop enjoying every single day’s light and warmth and start taking a sweater with me if I’m going to be gone until late, because I know it will be cold. It’s unsettled in more ways than that, with the transition that’s coming for D’s school, but we’ll get through it.