September Sentiments

September has always been my favorite month. It is a month of beginnings. I came into the world in September and as a child in England, it meant the beginning of a new school year. I actually turned 5 on my second day in Mrs. Goddard’s class at Huish Infant School, Yeovil, Somerset.

I have always loved school. While my classmates dreaded those first signs of an oncoming school year – cooler nights, stores with the oh-so-subtle signs blaring “BACK TO SCHOOL” – I felt excitement instead. In high school I would start buying my notebooks and pens in July. That annual trip to Ames was a high light for me. New sturdy spiral notebooks with crisp, bright white pages, colorful coordinating folders, multicolored pens… oh, makes me want to run out to Walmart right now.

As an adult, September holds a new joy for me. Fall. That first telltale kiss of a crisp breeze, the first splash of red on the mountain side, apple trees heavy with fruit. And of course, my birthday. I don’t avoid the commemoration of my birth; I like parties, I love gifts, and I particularly enjoy being the center of attention. You can blame this little egocentricism on my mother who has always venerated birthdays as a true cause of celebration; the celebrant is duly honored with gifts, a card, a meal of their choice, and a cake. If said birthday-girl (or boy) is not within hugging distance, then a phone call first thing in the morning must suffice, complete with a harmonized rendition of “Happy Birthday” (thanks to Dad’s willingness to oblige his dear wife).

This September, the one that is amazingly only one week away, holds particular significance for me and our family. September 2nd, 2008 will mark two milestones: 1) I am going back to work after 4 years at home, and 2) H is starting Kindergarten.

Yes, I am starting a real, wake-up-to-an-alarm-clock, take-a-shower, wear-a-bra job. And my little baby girl, the one who had no hair until she was 18 months, will, with pony-tail bobbing, board a big yellow bus and drive away from me. She’ll be back 6 hours later, but that disappearing back-end of a bus marks the beginning of her full departure from home; from me.

Um… corny! Yes, I know, but true. This is where she’ll start to hear and learn things from other kids that I may not be so pleased about when she brings them to the dinner table. And I don’t just mean those words we have protected her young ears from; the attitudes, the bad manners, the commericial world of Bratz and Hannah Gag-tana… she may be entering the structured world of school, but it will be a world I can no longer control. My precious baby will slowly grow up whether I like it or not.

If she’s anything like me (which I believe she is) she will love school because she loves to learn. I can only pray that school does not turn into a place of bullying or boredom. I hope September becomes a month of happiness for her aswell and that together we can look forward to the trips down the stationary aisle (and I’ll try to just breathe real deep and let it go when the Cinderella folders are exchanged for those showing some 14-year-old blue-eyed hunk with a basketball. Lord, help me now.)

I DO believe in fairies, um I mean, serendipity

Serendipity has to be one of my favorite words. Merriam-Webster defines it as the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

A couple of days ago, I walked into the daycare center to pick him up my son and I walked out with a job. Phenomenal. Valuable. Agreeable. Really not sought for.

I’m not kidding. A job – my dream job, no less. There wasn’t a position available but my skills (and personality, I guess) convinced the power that be (someone I was referred to because the person I was originally sent to happened to be out of the office) that a position needed to be created for me. And I’ll still be able to do my own writing because it’s part time.

Phenomenal.

This has given me an idea… I’m going to record serendipity – even the smallest expression of it – in my own life and those around me. I also want to track the times I have thought positive thoughts and so created positive situations, or when I have made authentic decisions which have in turn brought about authentic outcomes.

Yesterday, I wrote about our move to Mississippi. For whatever reason, when we were packing up to move, despite the butterflies that had taken up residence in my belly, I somehow knew it was going to be OK. I kept saying, “I just want to know why we’re being lead in this direction.” A year into our move, I was still asking this question even as I was teaching a journal workshop, meeting amazing friends, and writing more than I had in years. Oh…that’s why!

We trusted our intuition (which leads us to make authentic decisions) and the outcome was in our favor. I’m not implying our life has been all peachy keen, not at all! During this same time period we had some disastrous real estate problems that almost put us into bankruptcy, we went through Hurricane Katrina (or rather she went through our roof), and I had a miscarriage. Those are the details. But big picture – as my sister-in-law would say – s’all good!

I had given up on getting a job so I was concentrating on what I knew best. I didn’t know how we were going to pay our heating bill… I do now!

Phenomenal. Serendipity.

Exposing and disposing the Fear

I saw my name as a byline for the first time today.

I submitted three tiny pieces to AssociatedContent.com a couple of days ago just to see how the process works. While it is exciting to have my own words there for the world to see, it is also a little disconcerting. Strange that I would feel this way when my dream has always been to see my name in print. It is like the scraped-surface feeling I get when I send off a job application and resume – raw, vulnerable, exposed.

But at the same time, I am supposed to be promoting myself so I can begin to make money at this writing game. Just like that resume and cover letter, it is about strutting your stuff without being pompous or arrogant – just honest and healthily ambitious. Reaching out for what you need for your own well-being.

For the past two weeks I have been reaching out so far I’m hanging off the edge off my comfort zone. I applied for three jobs, none of which I really wanted but felt I needed to help our family through this coming heating season. Out went those soul-exposing letters and resume. One rejection (OK, I’ve never actually been an executive assistant), one “you’ll be hearing from us soon,” and one complete blow-off (the utter lack of professional etiquette on that one has me composing passive-aggressive emails in my sleep.)

Yes, I’ve been home for four years but I haven’t stopped “working” during that entire time. I drew enough people’s precious pets and big-eyed babies to pay for one Christmas, taught a journal-writing workshop (and am about to get certified to do another), written 6 chapters of a children’s book, completed a literature course, laid out newsletters and theatre programs…

Hey, wait a minute… I don’t need a damn job!

I think Fear sent those resumes out, but something else started a blog, submitted three stories, revised a full-length article, and sent a query letter to a “real” magazine all in a matter of 48 hours.

I don’t know how the heating will be paid this winter but I’m exposing myself to all the possibilities.