September has always meant “back to school” for me, and I’m certain it always will. Even when my kids are done with all of their education, I will always feel excited about fall’s promise of getting to start over.
For kids, ‘back to school’ is, of course, about new teachers, opportunities to grow and change, and making new friends. When I was a kid, I was excited about the first day of school, ironing my clothes to look just right. But, I was also nervous–what if no one wanted to sit with me at lunch?
To my kids, who have their own hopes and fears about going back to school, I try to fortify them with courage and love. I pray that when I drop them off that, in those classrooms and playgrounds, on story mats and in circle time, someone there loves them, challenges them and sees them for who they really are. And, I hope they make friends they can giggle with.
I want these things for myself, too. I want that same giddy feeling of wondering what will happen in the new year. I want to question what I’m capable of, stretching to be more creative, more athletic, more inquisitive and curious. I, too, want to make new friends I can giggle with.
And, it looks like I’m going to get all of that. Let me explain:
My kids are finally at the same school and on the same schedule. They get dropped off and picked up at the same place at the same time. This is a GAME CHANGER for me! Previously, I had been running Listed Treasures from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. each day. I then had to pick up and parent my preschooler while still running Listed Treasures–sometimes from the car! Then, at 3:25, I then picked up my older daughter from school and really truly tried to be present with both of them, while still (you guessed it!) running my business. Evenings were about homework and after school activities and Listed Treasures and dinner and bath and stories and bed. Following all that, I immediately flopped on the couch and fell asleep before I could even look at my work schedule for the next day. I was cramming a full-time job into a part-time schedule, and I struggled to get everything done.
As I prepare to let go of my youngest and send her off to Kindergarten (with both excitement and melancholy) I look at the day stretching out before me and, like a back-to-schooler, I am both nervous and giddy about what’s possible. I can now devote a full workday to my business. Where I was stretched thin trying to take care of everyone else, I can focus on realizing my dreams. I can see where my potential will take me.
For adults, even those who haven’t set foot in a classroom in decades, the ‘back to school’ mindset can be a catalyst for reinvention. I could choose to focus on my back-to-school fears (What if I miss my kids too much? How much of my identity is tied up in being a mom? What if I get overwhelmed? What if running the business full time is too hard?). Or, I can iron my shirt, get on the bus and see where the year takes me.
How will this “school year” be different for you? Let me know!