September. Routine. School uniforms. Timetables. Homeworks. Packed lunches. Being organised. N.I.G.H.T.M.A.R.E.
This September has crept up on me a bit like Christmas normally does. I felt pretty sure we had another week to go before the dreaded month. Like everyone else I was still patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for the sunshine and had started to convince myself that we would have an ‘Indian’ summer, lulling myself unconsciously into maybe even looking forward to my most dreaded month.
Previously I’d assumed that most of my problem with September lay with my last minute.com organisation; last year that lead me to almost crying in M&S on the last week of August trying to find school trousers to fit my 3 sons in the melee of picked-over-scrag-end stock. But this year I even managed to stock up in July before the 20% sale ended. Result. Stationery was purchased early August, traditionally by Granda Ivan who has a stationery addiction that I fear he has passed on to me and at least one of my boys, along with his sweet tooth – but thats for another day. School shoes, trainers, school bags and sports kit. SORTED.
Last week I wasn’t dreading it at all. I thought the super-new-organised me was ready for September. The weekend passed without even a whiff of nervous anticipation. It waited to hit bang on 7am Monday when my alarm rang out. Aghhhhhh the expectations began to pile on. Be on time. Uniforms pristine. Lunches that they like and are healthy. EVERYTHING to remember. That’s just at home. Then there’s work, where September is our new year. Not just reinstating the old routines, there are new routines to introduce.
Over breakfast this morning, with a close friend who LOVES September (I seem to have accumulated quite a few of those) we tried to analyse my ‘problem’. We didn’t get too far to be honest we had way too much to catch up on, however I did acknowledge that I don’t feel like I really have a problem, in fact I’m secretly a little suspicious of those who really really love this season. This is how I’m wired. My favourite days are those with no plan, no routine, just a sense of hours ahead yet-unfilled, possibilities endless like a series of rolling green hills, or a meandering path with nooks, crannies and luscious surprises around every corner. No schedule, no agenda, just sweet time and space to breathe. Reminds of the words, “He leads me beside still waters and restores my soul’, in my mind those still waters are surrounded by meadows that go on and on and on. Like sweet un-planned time simply with Jesus. Summer is far from filled with days just like that, but they are much more likely to occur then than during term-time.
My best attempt to describe September is it feels like a very tight harness, that I get to throw off for the summer, and squeezing back into it is uncomfortable, tight and constricting, a bit like wearing new high heel boots after only flip flops for 2 months.
By 2 weeks in the harness it will become more familiar and by October it will be like wearing my glasses every day I won’t even feel it. And I’ll intentionally find my “moments of still-water-restoration” in the mix of my organised full life.
So if you know me in the real world give me an extra dose of grace for the rest of the month, and I promise by next month I’ll have conformed to the routines again only dreaming of an escape to a favourite type of day far from September.