September is my most favourite month of the year. And yet somehow today is already the first of October and I feel like I’ve quite literally blinked and missed it.
I treat September as my New Year, far more than I do January. I don’t do Spring-cleaning. Instead I have what I call ‘Autumn clear-outs’. I figure the trees know what they’re doing with letting go of all the things they don’t need to hold on to any more so I instinctively take my lead from them. I’ve been ruthlessly sorting and de-cluttering and tidying and organising for weeks and my house still feels like there’s too much in it. Clothes, books, old toys, old ornaments, old ‘stuff’… it’s all going to the charity shop or being sold or getting recycled.
It feels good. I have a habit of holding on to way too much stuff – both physically and in my head. I feel like I’m suffocating under the weight of it all. When I have clear, empty space around me I feel I can breathe again, like I can start afresh with a simpler way of being, a blank foundation to build upon.
September also has a sense of newness about it. It feels hopeful. There is a more distinct change in season from Summer to Autumn than there is between any of the others I think. A definite, tangiable shift in the feel of the air and the colours in the world around us. I use it as a time to revisit my start-of-the-year intentions, adjust as necessary and create fresh ones.
September brings with it a new school year and all the other new things that come with it – new teachers, new classrooms, new topics, new routines, new stationary (definitely the best part for me – I love getting my new diary and filling it in!), new uniforms, new friendships and new challenges.
September means the return of The Great British Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing, the curtains being drawn ever earlier as we snuggle up on the sofa in the evenings.
There’s a change in the food we eat – I naturally move from creating summery salads, simple pasta dishes and fish with vegetables to more warming dishes like sausage casserole and soups and risottos and roasted root vegetables. Plus, much to my husband’s delight, the traditional roast-dinner-on-a-Sunday returns as well.
September is walks in the woods. Sunny days and frosty mornings and a chill in the air in the evenings. Digging out jumpers and boots and slippers whilst putting away dresses and sandals. September is always a month of pretty sunrises and spectacular sunsets – there’s definitely something magical about the light at this time of year.
I also use September as a time to reflect. It feels like all summer I’ve been sharing posts about the places we’ve been and the things we’ve done but none of it has really felt like I’ve been writing from my heart. It’s felt a bit ‘surface-level’ rather than deep and meaningful. And that’s ok of course – it was all I could manage as I tried to balance having fun with my girls with keeping up with work commitments. And the whole purpose of this blog is to document our days so the girls can look back on it in the years to come and remember the things we used to do, the places we used to visit and the traditions we used to have while they were little.
But this blog is also a place for me to document my days and to tell my story a little bit and in truth I’ve been struggling. I feel overwhelmed most days – all the things I need to remember, all the tasks on my to-do list, and all the emotions of three young girls to try and navigate and understand and learn about and love unconditionally through (that on it’s own is exhausting enough, never mind without everything else on top of it). There are days when the anxiety is sky-high and I find myself literally shaking from the adrenaline pumping through my body. And on other days the cloud descends and I feel heavy and tired and incapable of creating the motivation to complete even the simplest task (though, of course, I carry on regardless). The days in between, when I feel balanced and happy, they are the ones I hold on to fiercely. They far outweigh in number the other kinds of days that I mentioned and for that I am grateful, because they are the ones I want to remember.
The husband and I have fallen back into our old habit of sitting on opposite ends of the sofa every night, me on the laptop (sometimes working, sometimes numbing my brain on the mindlessness of social media trivia) and him catching up on the TV shows that he likes to watch which I don’t or numbing his brain on the latest Xbox game. It’s almost like we’ve forgotten how to love each other. We do love each other of course and we both know this is just a temporary season of parenting and marriage that we happen to be in right now that we need to weather. Neither of us are going anywhere – we just need to reconnect with ourselves and each other a little bit more in the midst of all the parenting and working and life. Our marriage has perhaps slipped down the list of priorities and really we need to move it right back to the top.
People say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, we have four children between us and no real village, just ourselves. I think we’re doing a damn good job all things considered, but the pressure and tiredness is getting to us a little bit. The never-ending hamster wheel of after school clubs and forms to sign and homework to help with and spelling to practice and reading to listen to on top of the demanding jobs with lots of responsibility that we both have – I think maybe we’ve just forgotten how to have fun together.
I’m still struggling with having lost my Dad. It’s been a little over 18 months now and part of me feels that I ‘should’ be over it by now. And another part of me understands that it’s different for everyone. The second year is often harder that the first – I think maybe I need to give myself a little bit more grace and allow myself to feel all the things I’m feeling so they can pass through rather than stay bottled up.
So while September has disappeared in a blur and life lately has perhaps been a little distanced from how we want it to be, the change in season has brought with it a change in focus. A shift from ‘doing’ to ‘being’. I’m sure I’ve probably written about this before somewhere – it seems to be an ongoing thing I’m working towards. Perhaps that’s the problem. Maybe I’m trying too hard and if I just let go it’ll all fall into place and settle naturally?
Anyway, I could write pages and pages about all of this. October is upon us and I’m determined that it’s not going to disappear like September has. I want to notice it, to breathe it in, to soak it all up. There is half term to look forward to at the end of the month and other than that we have no real plans for the next few weeks. So I’m turning my focus back to what matters. Back to my husband and our marriage, back to being with our children, back to nourishing and nurturing those parts of ourselves that need extra attention. A shift in my headspace, a shift in my emotions and hopefully a shift in behaviours that will result in a happier, more peaceful household.