100 Stories, A Personal Project | September Stories
Getting my September stories in under the wire here! Almost time for some October stories! September was a big month as school started up again, and I have a big kindergartner in the house now!! Logan also started preschool (although he went to playgroup at the same school last year so it was no big thing for him). September still felt like summer with weather that still skyrocketed to the high 80's. We even spent a few afternoons after school in the sprinkler!
So here they are, September's stories:
"The first stage of letting go"
It was so hard to send you on your way, unaccompanied, into that big elementary school building on the first day of kindergarten. I didn't think I would, but I cried. Right after I took this photo, the tears came. Watching your little self, excited and a little bit nervous, ascending those stairs with your new classmates. I was surrounded by chaos outside - parents and kids everywhere. I turned around in a daze until I ran into a friend who gave me a hug. A little while later I found myself at a diner with two other moms, toasting our beautiful, brave kindergartners, and congratulating each other on our journey as parents so far. I know that this is only the first in many stages of letting you go. I am at the same time, proud and devastated. Eighteen years under my wing is such a short time. It's already one third over.
The look on your face here says everything about your return to school. I stayed with you there for the first three days (as all the parents did). You ran to every new activity. Even clean up time was exciting. You danced energetically at music time, and were the first to answer your teacher's questions. In a nutshell, you LOVE school.
"The Blue House"
This fall and winter, Pops and Dad will be working on a blue house just down the street from ours. Pops is already there everyday, demolishing the inside to make way for a total renovation. We like to visit to see the progress. Pops lets you help him with various jobs and also lets you do fun things, like write on the walls with chalk. You gamely help roll carpet and send bundles of insulation down the stairs. This is how your Daddy first learned all he does about "fixing things". I love watching this knowledge and these skills now pass on to you and Lila.
"The After School Crew"
You ask every day if you can ride the school bus home, and every day I tell you no. I may seem like stick-in-the-mud Mom, but if you rode the bus, I wouldn't get to come to your school everyday, meet other parents, and see your teacher - and you wouldn't get to stay and play on the school playground everyday. I think the time we get with this new community after school is invaluable! I love meeting your classmates and their parents, and you love getting the wiggles out in the company of friends. I even love how comfortable Logan is on the playground now - I hope this will make his own transition to kindergarten all the more easy. So yeah, you might be annoyed with me now for not getting to ride the bus, but this time with the community, the "after school crew" is so much more valuable.
You could not have asked for a nicer group of classmates, or for a more nurturing team of teachers. I love seeing you in this classroom, the same one that Lila started school in three years earlier. A room full of love, and exploration, play and learning. So many amazing memories will be made in this room this year. There's no other place I'd rather you be.
"The Back to School Boogies"
The colds and coughs hit just a week into school starting. I was ready for them, armed with oils, the humidifier and warm apple juice with honey. We are still fighting the battle, but we will be victorious! And in the meantime, we are making comfy beds in the living room, keeping the lights down low, and taking it easy. Being under the weather isn't all bad when life is this cozy.
It has become a tradition now. We go apple picking every September around your dad's birthday to the same farm. You run around the orchards, climb ladders, fill grocery bags. You are thrilled to sit in the back of Nana's car with the hatch open to get from one field to the next. I look back on the photos even from last year's visit to the orchard and see how much you've grown. I love that we have this tradition with our family that you look forward to each year. I secretly hope it is one that will continue for years to come.
We saw the kids' fishing poles in an aisle in Walmart and picked a couple up on a whim. You were thrilled with the purchase and upon returning to the "house in the woods" immediately wanted to learn how to use your pole. Dad showed you how to cast a line, and you patiently practiced over and over again, each time extending the reach of your line further and further. I thought you would get bored - especially since Dad insisted you practice and master casting before actually adding any hook and bait - but you didn't. You threw that line again and again and again. Your love for nature is abundant and imagine you will grow up to be quite the outdoorswoman. I love this about you.
Sunny warm afternoons, golden light shimmering through the trees, bare skin, droplets of water from the sprinkler, fresh air, relaxing on the porch. Summer, your promise of more of this to come will get us through the long winter.
Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer or lifestyle videographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family, small business or event, please contact her for more information.