Football, tailgating, back to school, back to work, crisp, cool air, mums, fall leaves….
For all of us, fall means something different. The media helps us to identify with certain themes, like football. Retailers want us to think about tailgating and yardwork. Those with children often think about back to school. Teachers think about back to work. Now that we’re a homeschooling family about to uproot, watching all the advertising and hoopla that comes during this season got me thinking.
There’s a part of me that misses the back to school shopping frenzy. I love school/office supplies. But clothes shopping for a 7 year old going on 16! No thank you. Not to mention some minor sensory processing difficulties. Tactile is one of them, so clothes are interesting and inside of our house….optional if you ask my girls. Socks can’t have any design on them because that usually means extra threads on the inside. They need to be low cut/no show in style, but of course they need to be “girly” as I’ve been informed. And they can’t be too thick. That’s just the socks. But back to school shopping, when I was a kid, always meant a new pair of shoes for the year. I remember getting a new pair of jeans (my kiddo’s don’t like jeans…too stiff on their legs, so we only wear leggings and jeggings) and a couple new tops (my older kiddo won’t wear fitted shirts (ie all the cute tops), she only likes the boxy ones you get from fundraisers. So, its safe to say I don’t miss the back to school clothes shopping this year.
But the school supplies, that’s another story….luckily as a homeschooler, we still need the supplies. So I assessed our stock and of course I couldn’t rationalize buying a new box of crayons or markers when we have a gallon Ziploc bag full of each. We have printer paper, folders, scissors, staples, glue sticks, coloring books, paint, construction paper, pencils. We did need erasers and a new pencil sharpener. And I needed to better organize our stuff, especially for when we hit the road. So I did get a few items, but nothing like the cart full of years past.
Then there’s a new backpack and lunch box….but the ones we have from last year are still in working order and we have a bunch of extras of both around the house, so no need to buy those. And I’m not going to miss the frantic mornings of making school lunches either. When my older kiddo went into kindergarten I was determined to have her make her own lunch every night before bed….that lasted about 2 months.
How about the obligatory “first day of school” photo everyone takes? I guess I should’ve done that in June when we started the Miller Academy. And then we’ll miss out on the school pictures everyone will take in a month or two….oh, wait, there’s a store that happens to exist still, Sears and JC Penney’s that offer photo studios, and amazing independent photographers, like Bo’s Photography, so we can still make that happen.
Did I mention the pain that comes with getting kids to go to bed at a certain time when they’ve been up to the wee hours all summer, so they can get up and go to school. Nope, not us. On everyone’s first day of school this fall. We slept until around 10am. Wait, did I just admit to that? Oops.
We started homeschooling the Monday after school let out in June and we went strong for about 10 weeks, we’re now on a 5 week break while we pack up the house and move across the country. The girls are loving the freedom. So am I. What a different life we’re experiencing these days. I don’t think I could’ve dreamed it if I tried.
So, what does fall mean to me now? I’m focusing on the crisp, cool air, the changing of seasons when I can enjoy a cup of tea on the back deck at 9 am and not sweat from humidity. We’re not a big football family so that doesn’t resonate…sorry to all my friends and followers that find that blasphemy, but it is what it is. The occasional Seahawks game will get turned on this season, but we don’t plan our weekends around any of it. Although not big tailgaters, we do love a bonfire with marshmallow roasting and hope we can do lots of it this summer. We’ll miss our backyard fire pit, but the real joy comes from the company we keep.
I hope the girls don’t feel like they are “missing out.” But something in my heart tells me that those thoughts are merely the “guilty mom” talking. They won’t miss what they don’t know. We’ll create our own fall memories that will be our identity as a family.
Here’s to wishing all the children and young adults going back to school this fall a safe and fun year full of new information and social connections. And I also raise my glass (tea cup usually) to all the homeschoolers out there that either follow the school year schedule or do their own thing…may you create amazing memories that transcend time.