I felt the first twinge of excitement for fall yesterday. My kids wanted to go to the craft store to get jewelry-making supplies. As soon as we entered the store, the sweltering heat behind me, I was hit with apple-cinnamon scented pine cones and air conditioning; rows of faux pumpkins and plaid throws and mugs declaring “It’s Fall Y’all” stretched out ahead of me. And then I spotted the shelves full of markers, paints, pencils, and notebooks. For just a moment, I was going into fifth grade ,standing in the store with my mom with fists full of folders and pens thinking about what I was going to wear on the first day of school.
I didn't think I’d get the twitch for fall and all things back-to-school as soon as I did, but it came and I didn’t fight it. To me, there is nothing like it, and I always find myself feeling motivated and ready to get myself and my home in order.
I’m always inspired to redecorate my home, tackle a new project, or get a new hairstyle in autumn. To me, a new school year has always felt like even more of a fresh start than New Year’s Day. Isn’t that the time everyone is getting a new wardrobe, a coveted pair of sneakers, or a new haircut and vowing to be extra organized?
When I was younger, I was always excited for the first day of school because it meant a fresh classroom, a different teacher, and making new friends. Everyone would come back from the summer looking all sun-kissed with their hair trimmed as they walked down the hall in their favorite outfit. You couldn’t help but compare sneakers and backpacks and wonder who would be in your classes.
My friends and I spent hours on the phone talking about what we wanted our style to be, and how we would do things differently — we’d try harder in basketball, run for student council, and not waste our time with mean boys or girls — while giving each other pep talks. With an entire year of drama, dances, and new crushes ahead, you had to be prepared.
I still get so nostalgic while my kids are preparing for back-to-school. We take an entire day to go shopping, including lunch out somewhere fun. We stock up on school supplies and prepare fresh backpacks. There are hair appointments to be made and usually a new piercing or two. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t treat myself to more clothes and tubs of makeup than I should while I’m supposed to be outfitting my kids for the year. Moms deserve a fresh start, too.
I know I’m not the only one who feels like when their kids get back into a routine they are better able to stick to a plan of working hard, staying organized, starting a new hobby, or working out. I hear moms talk about it all the time — the summer is more relaxed and spontaneous and then it feels really good to buckle down again (in new clothes of course) after school starts again in the fall.
Sure, New Year's Day is fun and all but I’m more likely to set intentions and goals for myself in the autumn, while smelling Pumpkin Spice and wearing a new sweater. There’s something about this time of year that just feels, well, like new. I’m pretty sure I’ll be in my ’80s and ordering some new outfits, getting my hair done, and freshening up the throw pillows when school starts in the fall.
Katie Bingham-Smith is a full-time freelance writer living in Maine with her three teens and two ducks. When she’s not writing she’s probably spending too much money online and drinking Coke Zero.