This September marks my first fall in 15 years that we are not readying a child for school…well not really. Lucy left in early July for her semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Maggie began her graduate program in nursing at Northeastern University last week and is settling into life back at home. This year, preparing for school for Maggie consisted of ordering scrubs, a stethoscope, and a blood pressure cuff. There was no U-Haul full of Serena and Lily throw pillows, Roberta Freymann blankets, and Ikea bookshelves heading to Connecticut College. And this time, when Ken dropped her off at school, we knew she was coming home to sleep in her own bed just hours later.
September, for me, always takes on a certain sadness. For us, the month brings change. The girls are another year older, our seemingly endless days at the beach in Marion have come and gone, and I see the season transforming in my gardens. This September brings mixed emotions for me. As Ken and I had just begun to get the hang of empty-nesting, Maggie, our child who never wanders too far from home, has moved back in. We are adjusting to life with a twenty-two year-old roommate, and we couldn’t me more excited for the adventure. Along with mixed emotions of adjustment and relief to have Maggie so close to home, my heart also aches as I miss the other sunshine of my life, Lucy Jane. It has been more than two months since we’ve said good bye to our soon-to-be twenty-one year-old. Lucy is our free-spirited wild child, who is carelessly chasing sunsets, sand dunes, lions, elephants, waves to surf, trucks to sleep in, mountains to hike, foods to try, and new faces to meet. Meanwhile, Ken and I stay up at night worrying about where each adventure may lead our fearless little girl. We leave this Tuesday for ten days to visit and grab a quick snapshot of the life she is experiencing. I am elated, and nervous. Yes, September means change indeed…and September of 2016 has brought with it, entirely new changes of its own.
But as with every September, this month allows us to prepare. We prepare for new challenges in both work and school, for new expectations to be met, and most importantly, for new memories. September is about beginning our nesting process in our new routines. For me, no matter the circumstances of each year, September means closet cleaning, holiday planning, new workout routines, and putting the duvet back on our bed. I decide which items in my closet must go. I bring down my sweaters from the attic, I begin to save up for a new cashmere sweater or a new pair of boots, and I start to prepare the wool coats for winter. I beg my children and my husband to tell me which days of winter break they are free to travel home to La Jolla, California, and I start to figure out who is visiting for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
So, with that, I encourage you all to begin your nesting process and to begin facing the truth that another beautiful summer is behind us. Because with the acceptance of this change and a new routine comes unexpected happiness, another day that you are closer to seeing your college child, pumpkin-spiced lattes, Thanksgiving turkey shared with the ones we love most, and of course, room for a new cashmere sweater, or fringe poncho if you really want to step it up!