Back to school no more

blogDSCN0263Autumn hasn’t flaunted its pretty self yet.  My wall calendar only turns over its leaf to September tomorrow, but there’s something in the air that conjures up the feeling of fall. And as always, I am so ready for the change of season.

Stepping outside my door, I can sense it. I can feel it. I can smell it. Fall is on its way. The days have cooled down and the nights are cooler yet.  Thankfully, a crispness in the fresh air shoved summer’s heat and humidity out of the way.

That crispness reminds me of one thing – it’s time to go back to school. Many years have passed by since I sent my last child off to his final year of college classrooms. School shopping for supplies and college dorm rooms are a thing of the past for me, and I can honestly say I don’t miss that one bit.

For over a decade, I experienced that back-to-school feeling myself when I worked for a non-profit as an education program coordinator and visited public and private school classrooms. For the last four years, I headed back to school as a private school substitute teacher.

But for the first time in oh, so many years, there won’t be that back to school feeling for me. My subbing days are limited because I’ve traded that job in for an even more important one – taking care of my granddaughter while my daughter works. And I’ve decided to join the ranks of the semi-retired.

So even though school days have become a thing of the past, I can still recall that back to school feeling quite vividly. Thinking back over my own first days of school, excitement and a bit of nervousness always was the norm.

In elementary school, I already knew who my teachers would be and who the other students were in my class, unless there was a new kid. Walking to the bus stop in the dewy morning with a nip of cold in the air, I remember shivering slightly, a little from the briskness of the morning and the topsy-turvy nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach.

By the time I reached junior and senior high school, the excitement and nervousness accelerated. There were so many things to worry about!

Awakening a good bit earlier than those leisurely summer days, I know I carefully dressed in one of my new outfits hoping to fit in with the latest styles everyone else would certainly be wearing. Hair and a smidge of makeup had to be just right as well.

Back to school then meant new class schedules, new locker assignments, new teachers, and not knowing who would be in your classes or who would have the same lunch period as you.

It meant Friday night football games cheering your school team on in the chilly night air while scoping out cute boys that you just never noticed before. It meant reuniting with friends and classmates that you may have not seen all summer.

After a hot, sluggish summer season, back to school meant the start of something new. And maybe that’s why the thought of back to school always invokes the allure of fall for me. 

When there’s a little bite of chilliness in the air, I experience renewed vigor. Somehow fall days feel cleaner, fresher, and way more invigorating than summer did.

And even though it smells like the beginning of school outside, the big yellow buses are traveling down the roadways, and social media is plastered with all of those first day of school children’s photos, my back to school thoughts are just memories now…well, at least until little sweetie gets old enough to attend school.

But I’m more than ready to meet my beloved autumn season head on. I can’t wait.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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My back-to-school essay

blogDSCN0263What did you do on your summer vacation?

I didn’t have one. 

One sentence.  That’s what would be written on my ruled notebook paper if my assignment was to write a back-to-school essay about my summer vacation.

It’s back to school week in my neck of the woods.  Big yellow buses lumber past my house and one noisily downshifts to a stop nearby for some elementary students. 

Everywhere you look, back-to-school supplies monopolize the ads, TV commercials, and stores.  I can honestly say back-to-school shopping is something my checkbook doesn’t miss here in the empty nest, even though I am an aficionado of school supplies and would readily open the checkbook up for some nifty office products.

Yes, it’s back to school season.  Recently, I was near a college campus and as I walked down the street, the familiar cadence of drums echoed through the air followed by that unmistakeable  sound of band music.  It’s time to practice for football season. 

Yes, there’s a change in the air.

You can hear it.  You can feel it.  You can even smell it.  Autumn is on its way.  Hooray!

So what DID I do with my summer?  It just seemed to pass by…one day after another…in a hazy, dazed kind of way.  Summer plans to accomplish a list of to-dos flew right out the opened screened window.

American author Sam Keen wrote, “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”   If that’s the case, I have been the poster child for respectability.

No accomplished plans.  No summer vacation.  Just a bunch of languid, dull days strung together like well-worn, shabby towels sagging on the clothes line.  That’s what this summer seemed like to me.

Mulling this over while I so anxiously wait to usher in my favorite season with a warm welcome, I had to ask myself, “Was there anything note-worthy about this summer?”

What could I write about in my first day back to school essay?

I turned, as I often do, to photographs for inspiration.  And I found there were several days that proved worthy of commemorating and depositing into the summer memory bank before I kick this sluggish summer season to the back corner so flashy fall can captivate me.

So my back-to-school essay is a photo collage with each photo representing an event or happening that made me grateful, even if it was summer and I didn’t get a vacation.

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com 

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I smell….school!

blogDSCN0263There!  That’s it!  Did you catch a whiff of that?  I definitely smell school, do you?

The other morning, I awakened and took a nice deep breath while I lazily stretched in bed.  And that’s when I caught a whiff of the air circulating in and out of our bedroom via the open windows.  It smelled like school.

I can’t really describe it with words, but there’s a distinct smell in the early morning air this time of year.   The days are still warmed by the sunshine, but the nights commence their descent into cooler temperatures.  I’m certain there must be a scientific reason for what transpires but I don’t know what it is.  All I know is that fragrance in the air reminds me of going back to school.

Even though it’s been decades since I jumped on a school bus or packed up my belongings for dorm life, that smell transports me back in time to the first few days of a new school year.   I can vividly recall standing outside my house, shivering a bit in the cool, morning air, excited and yet a little nervous, waiting for the school bus to arrive on the first day back to school.  Yep, the scent in the air reminds me of crisp recently purchased school clothes, clean white tennis shoes, freshly sharpened pencils, and pristine notebooks with no doodles defacing them.

This time of year, stores tout their back-to-school sales and the aisles overflow with everything you ever wanted to start a new school year with and more.  At the discount store, I maneuver past mothers with children in tow loading up their shopping carts with packs of crayons, glue, rulers, markers, and backpacks.   College aged students heap all those dorm necessities into their carts.  A walk in the mall reveals families purchasing school clothes and the shoe stores swarm with children trying on shoes.   I notice school buses timing their practice runs.

My nose is right.  It’s time to go back to school.   Gone are the days when my children and I piled in the car, school supply lists in hand, to begin the annual ritual of back to school shopping.   The arrival of a new school year generated excitement with transitions from elementary to middle to high school to college, another season of sports practices and games, different schedules to learn, and new teachers to meet.

After a summer of leisure and relaxation, the smell of fall in the air meant the hustle and bustle of a new school year was about to descend and we had to get ready! But now at Mama’s Empty Nest, the scent of school in the air just ushers in a new season.  I can sit on my front porch swing in the warmth of the afternoon, watch the school buses drive by, hear the chatter of students on the bus, and reminisce about those days of putting my own children on the big yellow bus for another year of learning.

It’s my second year of not sending someone back to school, and in Chapter 8, Page 22, of my book of Opportunity, I can honestly say I’ve made peace with that.  No marathon shopping excursions, no frantic run to Wal-Mart in college town because we forgot this, that, or the other thing.  I find extending summer relaxation into this back to school season enjoyable, but the best part of all is my check book is a lot healthier too!

© 2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com