For the last several years, the closing of summer and arrival of September has brought much change to my life. While I often look forward to “sweater & boot” weather and setting goals for the “new year” as I settle into a more organized work schedule…I also dread the disruption and discomfort that the changing season brings.
In 2010, we packed the car and headed down the highway for Emily to begin her studies at St. FX. At the time, newly divorced and still reeling, the thoughts of my oldest child leaping from the nest were overwhelming. Taking her to university was another clear reminder that my world was full of change and I had little control of time passing and life simply not meeting my expectations. I was excited for her…but so terribly sad for myself and all that I’d been through as I felt let down…and uncomfortable in my role, once again, as a single mother. With the help of my parents, we moved my oldest into residence on a glorious day, then headed back home with one less child than had been there that morning.
By September 2011, I was used to life at home while focused on the two younger ones and we loaded up the car for Emily’s return to campus. The feelings from the year before had settled down a little as I was enjoying watching Emily thrive at university…but my own life was about to explode as I prepared to go back to school as a mature student. The uneasiness and resistance to change was almost palpable as I worried about how I’d ever be able to balance full-time studies while being a Mom…still resentful about how my life had unfolded and not quite embracing the challenges before me…I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.
By 2012, I was a year into my Graphic Design program, surprisingly enjoying life as a full-time student made simpler by all of the help I was receiving from family and friends. The summer found me in France and England, enjoying a wee bit of a vacation but also…dropping Emily off at school for a year abroad at a French University. I was chugging along fine, getting her settled and enjoying the beautiful surroundings…right up until the moment when I left her at the airport and LOST IT. It was suddenly too many years of too much…and far too big for my little heart to handle. I was comforted by the friends who were with me but inside I felt broken and feared there were many more things I still needed to teach her. While things spun far too quickly, I stepped onto the plane and returned to school for my second year, leaving Emily in France for what would turn out to be the experience of a lifetime for my darling girl.
In 2013, graduated and ready to take on a new career as an entrepreneur, starting my own business in Graphic Design and Influencer Marketing, I dropped my daughter for her fourth year at St. FX. She was changed, older…more worldly and full of wonder not to mention having an exquisite french accent. We moved her into an apartment with friends for her final year then months later, with an X ring on her finger and a diploma in hand, I borrowed a friend’s truck and made the trek to Antigonish for the final time where we loaded up her apartment and said our good-byes to a place for which we’d both feel forever grateful.
September 2014…with a degree behind her and unsure of her next phase in life, Emily packed her bags and headed back to France to work for a year as a teacher’s assistance at a private high school. Unlike my fears from before, I knew where she was going, the support she had in place and the excitement ahead but still…I was waving good-bye to my daughter as she whisked herself off to another country…not really sure of the future and how long Europe would have its grasp on her.
By September 2015, Emily had completed her stint in France and we found ourselves searching for apartments online and packing for a move to a new life in Ontario as Em had been accepted into the translation program at the University of Ottawa. I was rather getting used to summers where we’d all be together enjoying our family time…and Septembers that sent Emily packing but by 2016, the good-byes doubled as Noah chose to head to Newfoundland to attend Memorial University. My mom-heart so desperately wanted to stop him from spreading his wings and screaming “not you too”…but Septembers had more than proven to me that every flight they took was full of infinite potential. Each change, as resistant as I was to it…was a joy to watch once the heartache settled.
September 2017…all thoughts of Emily coming back home were squashed when she signed a contract and accepted a job at Parliament…a place she’d dearly fallen in love with during her two years in Ottawa obtaining her degree in translation. Noah, had grown in leaps and bounds and was discovering a passion for the island I grew up on…loving time spent with family, the friends he was making and a province that embraced him. I flew to Newfoundland with him to settle him into his second year in an apartment with friends and came home…feeling sad…but finding daily comfort in life at home with just me and Meg. I devoted my time to work and her final year of high school, knowing it wouldn’t be long before she too…would spread her wings.
And that brings us to today…the first day of September, 2018. As parents around me pack their children for the next chapter in their lives, I’m more than understanding of the heartstrings being pulled…of feeling excited for your child, and equally resentful for the passing of time. For the first year in many, I’m not standing teary-eyed at an airport saying good-bye as Megan has chosen to attend university locally where I’ll happily get to watch her grow and change from the comfort of my couch. As well, after much thought and deliberation, Noah is making a change from the path he was on and opting to enter a trades program that will begin in February…working until then and staying at home.
September, though chaotic, is a month of great transition. While I’ve resisted the change, felt the discomfort and faced my fears head on…I’ve emerged each year with the knowledge that in truth, there is nothing to fear in new beginnings. Eight September’s are proof though admittedly, I’m happy to have a break from airports and jam-packed cars headed down the highway to be unpacked and returned home empty.
With Emily settled in Ottawa, Megan starting this week at Mount Saint Vincent University and Noah on a new path…I’m proud of my children and all they’ve accomplished. I’m proud of myself, for helping to guide them and for allowing them the space to do exactly what they’ve each needed to do. I’m ever so grateful for the people who have helped along the way.
Happy September! For those spreading their wings and those who are cheering them on…I wish you a year of growth and adventure as you toss your hopes and all of your dreams…even if somewhat reluctantly…into the future.
We live very close to StFX, so every year I see the parents dropping off their kids… and every year I get closer to being one of those parents. It always makes me teary. 🙂
It’s such an unreal feeling to be pushing them out the door to do exactly what you’d always worked towards…while at the same time, so desperately wanting to pull them back.
Heading back to Halifax after dropping my baby at McGill. My heart is full of pride, fear and awe of how far we’ve come. There are never enough photos to freeze the moments of our children as they grow.