September is always a difficult month for me. When I was in university, I never had any money until the financial aid check came at the end of the month. Working for the school system isn’t any better; they send checks on the very last day of the month. But of course, the kids’ school needs money for field trips and photos and school supplies–this year alone they are asking for nearly $500 this month.
There are six birthdays of friends and family that I can’t afford to buy gifts for and both of my kids’ birthdays are barely more than a month away. Add in the bittersweet anniversaries of both the day I struck out on my own with the kids and the day the divorce was final (a year later) and you’ve got a month that adds up to not a whole heckuva lot of fun.
Last year, we managed to enjoy our Trio Anniversary (being in Thailand for most of the month on our way back from Vietnam), but this year the anniversary struck me particularly hard. I tried to fake my way through it, pretend I was happy, but in reality when I say “It’s our eleventh anniversary as a trio!” what I’m really thinking is “Eleven years of being unloved.” Melodramatic? Silly? Sure is.
I know I’m loved by family and even a few good friends who are there for me whenever I need a little boost (or even a lot as I’ve found out in the past week) and so I have to wonder at myself. Why is it important now? Why do I care? I am decidedly against getting re-married simply because the first go-round didn’t really do a lot of good for me.
Being single has been amazingly good for me. I earned a bachelor’s degree; I have been to eight other countries; I’ve read a ton of books; I’ve met fabulous new friends; I started writing a book. I learned to stand up for myself and accept the responsibility that comes with makes decisions for myself and for my kids. So why does it nag at me? Eleven years. Eleven years without someone to love you.
Part of me is wallowing in that particular sadness this September, amplified by the aging of my son. In five weeks, he’ll be 18 years old. A full-grown adult capable of embarking on any life he wants. And I’ll be here with my daughter, but when she’s gone… I think that’s what frightens me, yet excites me. I will be on my own. Finally. And while I am eager to not have to do anyone else’s laundry or argue about homework or pick up behind kids capable of doing so themselves, I know full well that I will miss their company.
So as I sat yesterday, in the swollen eyelid aftermath of a sobfest, I realized something I’ve realized many times before: This, too, shall pass. The month is nearly over. I’ll have my first paycheck in THREE months next weekend. Things will shift and all will seem right in the world again before too long. I have a new job. I’m writing again. I have some wonderful friends. And most of all, I have things to do still–trips to dream about, a book to finish, children to care for. friends to treasure.
But even so, I wish we could just skip September every year.