September rituals

When Peanut was born, I vowed to create rituals to mark the passage of the seasons. Hanging peanut butter pine cones for the critters on Winter Solstice. Springtime Egg Hunt on birthdays (because egg hunts only once a year is some bullshit). Heavy drinking and sobbing the penultimate day of school. Stuff like that.

I’m not on top of my game yet, but I’ve been consistently playing around with traditions for summer, winter, spring, and birthdays. I’ve been thinking this week about our Fall events and noticed we need something for September. Peanut, the eldest just started school last year, so I’m new to the signpost of how a new class and teacher colors the rest of the year.

I think we’re going to send letters (actual paper with actual stamps…ask your parents, they’ll know) for the boys as school starts.

When Spouse and I married, we kept the lovely notebook in which our vows were handwritten. We take it out each anniversary and write each other a letter to be read the following year. [Well, we did, anyway. We haven’t since Peanut turned Two several years ago. That’s another problem for another day. See also in the forgotten category: personal grooming, libido, sanity, and ability to think at advanced level. We’ll start writing notes to each other again when the kids are in college, right?]

But I thought that starting a journal of letters we write the boys should be family-heirloom-caliber important. So for birthday, first day of school, and last day of school, we’re going to write a letter to each boy and mail it. We’ll keep a scan of each as a .pdf and make them a book of the images for when they go to college. Or the Peace Corps. Or prison. (Laugh all you want, but if you prepare for everything, steady stress comes from the daily nonsense yet the catastrophic stuff seems manageable. Example? College funds easily transition as use for bail.)

Peanut starts first-grade this week. I’m nervous for him…will The World adore him or abuse and misunderstand him…but not as terrified as I was last year. He can now read a bit, but I’m not expecting him to read these letters from me and Spouse. I’m just hoping to add gravity to the year—to create milestones that don’t exist anymore in our electrically homogenized year. If I can’t get them to bed at 4pm in the winter like agrifamilies did in the 1800s, at least I can write a missive that makes them feel guilty for not appreciating me, right?

Butter starts day care next week. Three times a week for a few hours each morning. I’m devastated. And desperate to blink again. And wrecked. And clawing toward the air. And heartbroken. When words fail me, I steal: “It will work out.” “How will it?” “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.” He’s perfect in every way and will do fine. I’m abhorrently flawed and will not. But that is the way of the world, no?

What do you do for the first day of school (or the transition from Summer to Fall if you homeschool)? If you don’t have children, does your year stretch from New Year’s Day to the next New Year’s Day without markers or do you do repeat something special each year to note the passage of time? Which of your rituals may I steal and fold into our family calendar?