By Kathi Macias –
September has always been my favorite month of the year. Seriously! Even—especially—when I was a kid. Yep, I was one of those “nerds” who loved school and couldn’t wait for summer vacation to end so we could get back into the classroom.
Most of my friends and both of my little brothers thought I was nuts. They were more like those two kids in the Staple’s commercial who drag up and down the aisles, looking like they just lost their best friend, while their dad leaps and dances through the store, tossing school supplies into his basket before racing toward the check stand.
I’m one of those people who, given half a chance and unlimited funds, would be a perpetual student. I absolutely love the challenge of learning a new topic and then acing a test on it.
And that’s another reason my younger brothers weren’t all that wild about September. They would show up in a new classroom and, as soon as the teacher spotted their unusual last name, hear her declare, “Oh, you must be Kathi’s brother. We’ll expect great things from you this year.”
As I progressed from grammar school to junior and senior high, I also loved the excitement of running for (and usually winning) a spot on student council. Entering the science fair was another treat because it meant I could spend my evenings and weekends working on my project while my brothers did silly things like playing outside or watching cartoons.
(Did I mention I was a firstborn? A type-A personality? An over-achiever? No? But you already figured that out, didn’t you?)
All well and good…until school becomes a thing of the past and real life happens right in front of you. Then what?
My husband and I married young—very young. Eighteen, to be exact. And we did so in the month of September. In the two years that followed, we had two babies, thirteen months apart. For the very first time in my life, I realized I did NOT know everything, nor was it necessarily fun to try and learn. Diapers? Are you kidding me? That was definitely before the days of disposables. (You don’t even want to go there.) Sleep deprivation? I set a new record that even “Sleepless inSeattle” hasn’t come close to breaking.
You know the one thing I did learn during those first couple of years? That a human being who weighs less than my head and can’t even sit up can at the same time absolutely take over the lives of two adults. Throw a second pint-sized person into the mix, and life as we knew it was over.
There were times during those early years of non-stop diaper changing and midnight feedings that I didn’t think I was going to make it. Suddenly straight-A averages and honor roll listings didn’t mean much. All I wanted was to be able to sleep more than 30 minutes at a time and to be able to eat an entire meal in one sitting.
But before I knew it, those years were behind me. Now, as another September is upon us, I look back on those early years with nostalgia. If I had them to live over again, which ones would I choose—the years where I couldn’t wait to get back to school and learn something new, or the years when I witnessed my child’s first smile or heard his first word? Hands-down, the sleepless years with my little ones.
September is a good month to reflect on the past…and to prioritize the future. Perhaps that’s why the Jewish calendar starts in September, rather than January. I’m approaching this September with a song of praise and thanksgiving in my heart and on my lips for all that God has blessed me with through the years. I encourage you to do the same.