Starting Fresh

j0439450So here it is September again.

I find myself in an interesting place this year. For the first time since my children began their educations, I have only one child attending school this year. Unlike in the past, however, this time it’s not because two of them are too young to attend, it’s because they’re too old.

Actually, that’s not really true. The fact is that two of my children have graduated from college and my youngest is a sophomore at a local university. The two who’ve graduated haven’t yet found their niches, however, and going back to school is still an option for them.

Sometimes I wish it were an option for me. As I’ve watched my kids go off to college, I’ll admit I’ve been envious. Oh, to have nothing more to think about than reading, studying and what I’m going to eat for dinner–a dinner that, for better or worse (institutional meals aside), someone else made for me.

But for now, at least, going off to college and living in a dorm isn’t in my immediate future. (I really think someone could make a mint off of a university for adults; we would actually appreciate it.) So I’ll have to settle for pretending and once again tapping into the feeling that I get every September–that is, the feeling that a fresh start awaits.

When my children were young, we marked it by purchasing new school supplies and uniforms. They may not have enjoyed the process, but I did. Even as a kid I loved the smell of new copybooks and pencils. (I was weird, I know.) As a writer, the feeling has only intensified.

But it was always more than that. It was the sense of expectation, the knowledge that new and exciting possibilities were in store. And new challenges as well. I was always the type of kid who looked forward to learning new things. I still do.

This point in my life is fraught with different challenges–many which I never dreamed I’d have to tackle. But there is still a sense of possibility. Possibility that things will get better and that exciting, interesting challenges lie ahead. Once again, I find myself eagerly anticipating a “new” year.

Now, I’m off. I think I’ll go out and buy a new notebook and some number two pencils. A little inspiration couldn’t hurt.

Mary Fran Bontempo


  1. CHRYSA SMITH said,

    October 5, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Keep the faith, my friend. It is true. This too, will pass, as the sages say. Nothing (both good and bad) lasts forever, so enjoy the good while it lasts and take comfort in the fact that life holds endless possibilities for good—I may blog about that very soon.

  2. October 5, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    I love those old black and white marbled hardback copy books! – were they only for Catholic school kids, I wonder? The binding would make a ‘crack!’ when you opened it fresh for the first time, and there were all sorts of inscrutable weights and measures listed on the inside back cover. Avordupois?? Rods, quires, reams, hectares, fathoms? Ah, the merry old days before centimeters!

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