I love this time of year.
Hot summer days, cooler nights. The subtle shift feels cozy.
As a kid, I loved back to school shopping – getting a new outfit and new runners. I love the the anticipation of a new school year and being able to spend time with friends.
When I was homeschooling my kids, I loved knowing all our favorite places would empty out soon. The first weeks of September, with everyone back at school, were the best for going to the mountains, visiting the zoo, going to museums, and playgrounds. We felt like these places belonged to us.
I continue to love new pens and notebooks (10 cent notebooks are back, FYI). I love the possibility of an empty notebook and new pen. The adventures to come, the characters I have not yet met, the journeys we will take together as the daylight trades hours with the darkness.
I love harvesting our garden and a return to root vegetables. I love autumn boots and light sweaters. A cozy cup of tea and new projects cast-on my knitting needles.
There is an ease I feel this time of year. Enjoying the seasons and being present with change.
When I was a little girl living in Southern Ontario, we had a tradition of going to the beach for a last time on the Labour Day weekend. Dad would have the holiday Monday off and if it was hot we’d go to one of our favourite haunts. My very favourite was a beach called Port Dalhousie near St.Catherines. The beach was wonderful soft sand and even though Lake Ontario was cold in most areas, it seemed warmer at that beach for some reason. They still have the Merry-Go-Round ride there for 5 cents per ride. The snack stand had really nice ice cream too. We’d finish off the day with a treat. Other favourite memories of back to school for me were the trips to “The Book Nook” a book and stationary store in town where we could buy our school supplies and going to the shoe store next door for our new shoes. Gotta love those Mary Jane’s. I also loved October because it was often a cool rainy month and I just loved the smell of wet leaves and stomping in all the rain puddles walking home from school. It was also fun to find horseshoe chestnuts for conkers and hazelnuts for snacks. I loved Thanksgiving but was never much for Halloween.
Mom made a lot of my clothes. She sewed dresses, skirts and jumpers, knit sweaters, hats, scarves, mitts and gloves. We had a fabric and yarn store in town and it was one of my most favourite things to do with her – go to that store to pick out fabric or yarn for a new item of clothing. I felt very blessed that I had a mother who could personalize my clothes. It was nice to have a new dress for the first day of school and it looked so different from all the other girls.
As an adult – back to school was not so fun for me with my 4 kids. Our budget was very tight and trying to pay for all those school supplies, school, bussing and lunch fees, new clothes and shoes (8 pairs – 1 indoor and 1 outdoor each) nearly broke the bank each September. I would also do a marathon baking stint to stock the freezer with lunch items. It cost more than Christmas. I did consider the homeschooling route but with having to run a day home it was not possible. That being said, it was always fun to listen to my kid’s stories of who they got as a teacher, who was in their class, who barfed, peed their pants on the first day etc. When I heard some of their stories I often wondered how the teacher’s sanity held out. They deserve a medal, even more so now with the pandemic. I would also be up late that first school night filling out 4 sets of all those back to school forms for health, contact info, computer confidentiality, etc. etc. I felt like I was writing a book. I never did understand why I had to manually fill out these forms each year when the info was already in the school computer.
All that said, now that my kids are all young adults in their 20’s and 30’s I look back with some measure of fear and fondness wondering how I managed it all. Now that the kids have had to handle their own expenses for quite some time they are very appreciative of everything I did and have told me so many times so I guess it all evens out in the end.
Hopefully, this fall will be a nice one because early reports are that we are in for a cold and snowy winter. I know I plan to be outside as much as possible. Enjoy the sun!
Thanks for sharing all your end of August, early September memories. Such a fun time…even in times of struggle, we still make lasting memories.
Well said, Laura-Jeanne. There’s nothing better than picking up new “school” supplies and yes those 10cent scribblers are my go-to for all my writing fun.