September – the shoulder month where summer meets fall, when the post Labor Day blues quickly turn into the excitement to need a light jacket - at least in NYC. We get excited about things like that – swapping our sandals for shoe boots.
Even as an adult, the freshness of fall signals the anticipation of a new start. We become willing to trade the seashore sand and summer sun for the colorful leaves and pumpkin lattes. The back to school photos on Facebook mean back to life. And even if we don’t have kids, we feel ready for life to kickstart again – or at least pretend we’re ready.
As a child, each September awakened the butterflies in my stomach wondering who I’d have for homeroom and who I’d be sitting next to in class. This was probably my biggest concern. That and my first day outfit choice. As a Labor Day baby it also brought the eagerness for a birthday celebration of some sort – a barbecue out in the backyard, a sleepover filled with giggles, or a roller skating pizza party. Either way, my mother made sure there was homemade cake with candles. Innocence tied up in a pretty little bow.
There was something special about September – and there still is. It’s just different. Like a cute, fun-loving toddler, September suddenly grew up and got all serious.
For the past 16 years, turning the corner from August into September awakens a new breed of butterfly in my stomach, with a bonus throat lump. I welcome the blue sky and crisp air with some trepidation. But as each September has proven since the destruction of innocence in 2001, its strength, resilience, and beauty will always shine through.
September may remind us of sadness and loss, but it also reminds us that hope will always wriggle its way out of darkness, that fall can still give us a feeling of abundance, and that the leaves will always turn.
September never went away.