Family fall time

Fall is a strange and harrowing time for me.

My birthday is in fall, but I’ve never had a problem with my birthday except that one moment of panic I had when I turned 27 and couldn’t remember how old I was until I did the math.
Football season is in the fall, which, given that I live in Chicago might explain this feeling of impending doom I have been experiencing lately. But then the Bears are full of hope, what with their new quarterback and everything, so that doesn’t really explain it.

Maybe it’s all this talk about superbugs, but I don’t think so since I have no idea what that means.

Nope, I think it’s just fall and the knowledge that no longer will my biggest decision each day revolve around which popsicle flavor to choose (no wait, that’s my son Alec’s biggest decision). But it’s definitely school starting and everything that implies – the hectic schedules, the responsibilities, the lack of family fun time (and oh, what a day that was).

With one child starting high school and the other, junior high, in a matter of days (see, now I’m nervous I’m going to forget which day it is, and my kids will miss their first days of school), there is anxiety aplenty. I believe this dates back to my first days of school and again, it’s probably my parents’ fault.

They never sent me to nursery school as they called it then. Either they forgot because I was the youngest of four or more likely, my mother did not want me to leave home. As a result, I was hardly prepared for my first day of kindergarten, which is why I remember everything in such vivid, terrifying detail, beginning with Ed, the bus driver, peeling me off my father’s leg and continuing as we pulled up to school and someone whose name I had not yet learned, throwing up out the window.

School is simply nerve-wracking, period. My brother Barry, at 57, still regularly has that dream where he can’t find his class, shows up late, finds out it’s the wrong class but that he has a final he didn’t study for. I have that dream too. I believe it’s the classic dream of an overachiever. Either that, or an obsessive-compulsive neurotic, I’m not sure which one.    

My children appear to be OK, though my husband and I did a little checking and discovered that
ours was not the only incoming freshman who forgot her name when going to pick up books. I would have made fun of her, but Rick reminds me he had to accompany me to Northwestern that same day last week to help me park. Really, that’s not true. I could have parked alone. But it was scary finding the right building where I had to bring forms for a class I’m taking.

I find I am almost paralyzed these days by simple tasks, which explains the weeklong dearth of blogs (my apologies and thanks if this caused great concern or threw anyone off their normal routines). For a while there, I thought I was done, had nothing significant left to say anymore. Then, thank goodness, I realized that having nothing significant to say had never stopped me before and in fact, goes right to the heart of what my blogs are all about.
Furthermore, I think I need these blogs more than ever as my anchor and a sort of repository of insignificance as life becomes that much more complicated.

I am quite sure, in the coming weeks, that this faculty class I am taking will cause me great angst. I should mention the entire class only lasts 10 days, but they’re accelerated days and since I did not understand the course outline, I am a bit concerned.
Also, in case either child decides for the first time to ask me, and not their father, for any guidance on homework, this could cause some anxious times as well. The books look very scary this year.

Then there are the Bears, which have always made me a little nauseous. And this continued quest toward re-invention, which people now want me to actually speak about as if it is
something I have figured out.

This is what I wanted, I keep telling myself. Back when the Tribune told me that in a cost-cutting move, they didn’t want me anymore but then started hiring people and finding other ways to spend the money they had saved, and all I could see was a big void in my future, I wanted to be busy. And honestly, there wasn’t a single day, including the day I left, that I haven’t been busy.

I am, in fact, much busier than I have ever been. And happier, I should add.
This much I have figured out.
The fall? Not yet.

3 Responses to “Family fall time”

  1. amy

    A couple of things! On my first day riding home on the bus from kindergarten, even though I had an address sign to hold up to show the bus driver, I didn’t do it, so he kept going, and I watched as my mom and dad and sisters ran after the bus trying to get it to stop! I swear I must have been in the bathroom when the teacher told us to wave our address signs near out homes. Secondly, I have that dream about going to class for final exam and realizing I never showed up for the class at any time!!! Over-achiever? I think it’s just freakish mind syndrome.
    As far as parking, well, that’s just weird.
    Sadly, I don’t remember that you couldn’t remember how old you were on your 27th b-day! And wasn’t I with you at the time??? I don’t remember!
    Love your blog!  You’re doing great! Reunion, at some point, is long overdue, my backwards-dress friend¡

  2. Frank

    Melissa –
    Very well written. Brought back memories of my first time at school. I was not prepared for kindergarten either. Never heard of nursery schools that far back, but I made it. Your children will do well. They have good examples set for them. The Tribune did what they did, but that other door opened. The Best Birthday this year to you.


  3. Don

    We have all gone through the same experiences in the fall. You are not alone. As for the Bears, hope springs eternal.


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