We’re back in the swing of school, sort of, and gearing up for the year in all kinds of ways. Since last Thursday was a holiday for us, Newman and I put our work aside and grabbed one more summer day in the form of a return to the Brimfield Antiques fair. I’ve been going to the fair for years, but this is the first year I’ve ever attended in September (and the first year I’ve attended all shows–May, July, and September). Since we mostly window-shopped at the July show, I didn’t think we’d find much, but we blew through our budget rapidly and had to keep our eyes on the ground on the long walk back to the car because we kept seeing stuff we loved.
Newman and I have figured out that the decorating style we both love is the urban industrial look, so the stuff we ooh and aah over tends to have a lot of wood and metal involved. Our first mutual Brimfield purchase was this wine rack, which originated in an old shoe factory, and it definitely sums up the style:
The Brimfield outing was lovely, and I was very happy with our purchases, even if Newman didn’t buy me the one motorcycle I told him I would definitely learn to ride:
I’m glad we celebrated one last summer outing because reality is setting in now as school and sports commitments start to pile up. After attending a two hour parent meeting for Free’s gymnastics team, I now realize that my budget and my weekend schedule just got a whole lot tighter. It would be enough to depress me, but I’m taking it in stride as it just feels like this is right for Free for right now. She and I and her dad will look at all the commitments involved and make a plan for it. If we are in for the year, then we are in for the year, and then we will re-evaluate after that to see if it was worth it and where she is at. I don’t want to get caught up in any one sport or thing; it’s easy to do, but I am going to try to keep things open as long as I can. Free is also doing fall soccer, a winter ski program, possibly Girl Scouts, and maybe hockey but only if we can swing it with her schedule and our budgets. If it’s too much, we’ll cut back. We just will.
The good news is that I have stripped down all of my work commitments except for teaching. Let me repeat: ALL of them are gone. No more clubs, committees, advisories, or independent studies. There is only one group of kids that I meet with occasionally when/if they want me to, and that’s a group I love to work with and probably won’t need that much support. I am so excited about the possibility of getting all work done at work that I could do a flip. Maybe even a back handspring.
Watching Free play her first soccer game this morning after a couple of days of crisp fall weather, I was able to really soak up the feeling of this new stage we are entering. Newman has talked about it a lot as he is heading out of this phase that has dominated his life for the last fifteen years: the one where your children’s activities take over your life. He has loved it, he says, but he is also starting to reap the benefits of having some of that time and money back as his own. I know after the last hockey game he attends (probably 3 years from now when his last child graduates high school), he will mourn this stage but also relish the fact that freezing rinks are no longer his constant companion.
I, on the other hand, am just gearing up. Free’s dad and I will probably end up splitting the duty of carting and watching and cheering, and I am eager to jump into these roles. One of the blessings of having only one child is knowing that every first is also, in some ways, a last, and I get to focus solely on Free and be fully present to her journey, one that will be very, very different from my own at her age. It’s kind of cool that I get to go along for the ride. Yes, there will be costs, and there will be decisions–sometimes tough ones–and there are bound to be difficulties and losses. But there will also be victories and celebrations and lots of fun in there too. I’m gearing up for all of it.