Yes. I realize it’s August and not January. And, no, I’m not losing my marbles…. (Or at least I think I haven’t just yet. But make this summer last a few weeks longer and ask me again.)
In the Tanaka house, August signifies a second chance at a new year. And as much as some parents (including myself) are feeling a bit of relief as the kids head back to school, I think most of my celebrating has to do with getting back into a more predictable routine. The kids are excited too, because like January’s New Year, it’s a symbolic time to start fresh – to start with a clean slate with new teachers, a handful of new friends, and a whole lot of new experiences.
Each year, the back to school season is kicked off with back to school shopping. While we are normally budget conscious and shop for the best bargains, after a year of having a stay-at-home-mom income, the kids had to do a little more reducing and reusing instead of just recycling. This year, we carefully looked at each item that was brought home from school and decided if it could be reused again for another school year. Crayon and marker boxes that were returned untouched were immediately placed in our back to school stash for the following year’s use. And we ended up having to purchase much less for this school year. With three kids, that accounts for A LOT, and the kids were good sports knowing they were helping save the earth as well as saving money.
A new year can be exciting, but it can also cause a bit of worry. My 12 year old son, who has small bouts of anxiety every now an then, admitted he felt nervous the night before school. When I asked if it was about meeting his new teachers or meeting his new classmates, he said plainly, “Just everything.”
Yes. New is scary. Even my little 6 year old walked to her new class very slowly with her head down and eyes hiding behind a brand new pair of pink Hello Kitty glasses she had gotten over the summer. As I talked to her on the way, she bravely tried to put up a smile, but I knew that she, too, was unsure of how to process her feelings of this new day.
There is comfort in hanging on to something “used” to carry you into a new year. For my son, he reused his pencil box and backpack from last year. As small as that was, he didn’t have the discomfort of itchy straps that our middle sister experienced with her brand new backpack. He could easily stash his new pencils, calculator, and other “cool” things in his reliable tin box. My youngest didn’t have to fuss with learning how to refill a brand new water bottle or learning a new lunch container system. I knew there would be so much learning for her now in the first grade, that throwing more “new” things at her, no matter how small, would only cause distraction, stress, and anxiety.
While we are only into the fourth day of school, the littles seem to have transitioned well into the groove of the new school year. And as for me, I’m missing my kiddos asking me a million questions that they know the answer to. Missing them learning to grill their cheese sandwiches on the stove. Missing them building forts in the living room that last for days on end. Missing them blowing bubbles for our dog to catch, or riding their bikes on obstacle courses in the driveway while learning how to nurse road rash. The days have been awfully quiet lately.
But I’m excited too. Because this New Year means a new season of writing for me. A new season to practice my craft, learn new things in this industry, and stretch my words into new places. A new season to connect with and make new friends. A new season to develop into the person God created me to be. A new season to connect with Him and grow closer in the time that we have – just for us. The days are now wonderfully quiet.
And as I transition into this new year, there are some familiar things that I’m bringing along into this new phase of life. Those special things, people, or words that bring me comfort. And I’m looking forward to catching up with all of you!
So how was YOUR summer? Are you looking forward to this new season in your life? What familiar things are you bringing with you? I’d love to hear all about it! Please share in the comments below or send me an email. I’m so happy to be on this journey with you.
Live loved, friends. For you truly are.