New Beginnings

 Swallowtail Caterpillar just before metamorphosis.
September feels like a time for new beginnings to me. From the age of 5 to 22, I was a student. September meant new teachers, new classmates, maybe even a new school. Then I became a teacher and September meant a new set of students, new parents, and maybe a new classroom. Until I became a parent, each September meant a fresh start. There were a couple of Septembers, when my son was an infant/toddler, when I didn't experience "back to school." But every year since he was two has continued to bring a new beginning. For a while, I was an Educational Consultant working in schools and then I became the parent of school-aged children.

I used to love that old Staples back to school add with the soundtrack that played "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." I know the commercial was meant as a joke, but as a teacher, September really was my favorite time of year. I LOVED going back to school. Getting out of school in June, not so much. I hated saying good-bye to my students. Each year they became like family to me. Heck, we spent more time together on weekdays than we we spent with our actual families.

But now the tables have turned. I have to send my actual family members (in the form of my children) back to school each fall. I miss them. But you know what? I also see that same glimmer of excitement in their eyes that I had. The glimmer of new beginnings. The chance to make a whole new set of friends, meet new teachers who will take them to new places, and learn things they never knew they'd learn.

I felt all of that in my son's classroom last night during open house as I looked at the barometers and anemometers they had built. He was excited to tell us how they worked and what the readings meant. And that was my fairly tight-lipped son who was talking. The son I call, "the man of few words." He's excited about the science he's learning this year. So am I.

And, so, despite missing my kids as they venture back to school, I'm thankful for the interactions they'll have that I can't provide. I'm thankful for the new friends they'll make. I'm also thankful for the new beginnings I have to look forward to. More time to write. More time to submit my manuscripts to publishers and agents. More time to focus on my career.

What new beginnings are you looking forward to this fall?