I love September. The weather is perfect, the smells invoke memories for me of crisp, cool nights playing soccer under the lights, going to football games and hanging out with friends. All the time in the world.
New school year, new opportunities. Pure magic.
Until this year. I started out not being able to get the 10th anniversary of 9/11 out of my head, and now I can't seem to get into a groove. Back to school month is always a bit chaotic (especially since James has been in 4 schools in the past 5 years) but this year, it has been unbearable, and I haven't wanted to deal with any of it.
Meetings are double booked. Homework trauma started on the first day of school. Both boys started crying about the work and the schedule by day 2. Buses come to different stops at the same time, if they show up at all. I have to drive to Johnny's stop (in my own neighborhood) just so I can get back home for James. The other day it was 2 hours late, and I spent my time switching between transportation police trying to track it down and trying to find a neighbor to get James off his own bus.
All the while, I've been running in circles, accomplishing nothing and getting more frazzled by the moment.
I'm coming undone. I've started obsessing about my younger one's emotional development and behavior, looking for signs that probably are only in my own head. Tony does his best to salvage the evening when he gets home from work after a long day, but he has 2 hours to read with the boys, eat dinner and try to unwind before he has to get on a conference call.
I know how easy I have it - I have friends who work demanding full time jobs, then go home to their children, many of whom have severe special needs. These moms juggle more in the few "free" hours at night, or in the morning, than I do during an entire day. One friend does 3 complete loads of laundry (including ironing) before I even get up. Another friend has had 2 meetings a night all week, is triple booked for tomorrow night, and will wake up Friday morning and drive 7 hours to spend a few hours with her grandmother on her 102nd birthday, then jump back in the car to be home Saturday for more meetings and her son's birthday party. Still another has her husband come home from teaching to take care of 5 while she works all night as an EMT for the city. She comes home and gets one hour sleep before her son wakes her up - and then everyone gets up, and who can possibly get any sleep at that point? It's a complete loss.
We're all unraveled. September owns us.
Today I took it back. Running around frazzled and tired, I stopped and looked at James, sniffling and sneezing, eyes watery and droopy, but going along with the morning routine. I realized that he needed to stay home from school.
My first reaction was no way. Not today. I'm co- hosting an event tomorrow night to introduce friends to two city councilors I strongly support, and I want it to be fantastic. There is too much to do. He just has a cold, he can handle school. Then I thought about it and realized he was going to get worse if he didn't rest. We both were, and this was our chance.
We played games all morning and went to Friendly's (his favorite). We walked to Johnny's bus stop and took the long way home, not worrying about having to be somewhere else at the same time.
We didn't do anything special, but we took the day back. And in doing that, I feel like I got September back, for both of us. At least until 6:45 am.
He runs to make his mind still, to organize himself and to get rid of the noise from this loud, confusing world. The more he's moved, the more he's introduced patterns and rhythm into his routine. Laps around the house are a daily ritual. He's made it more complex as he's developed, but the basics are the same. There is a pattern of movement -- specific foot patterns based on whatever song or chant he chooses to accompany the run, and he can not be stopped until he is ready to be.
This is James, and this is our story.
This is James, and this is our story.