There is a chill in the air now. It’s crisp and fresh. The sticky wetness of summer has been blasted away by thunder storms and wind, and Autumn is here. My boots are out, the tights are in full swing, and the baby is well and truly rocking a splendid array of hats.
Autumn is my favourite season. I always love the arrival of a new season, and I actually love all the seasons for their unique properties. But Autumn just clinches it for me. Spring doesn’t bring a sudden blast of warm to wipe away the cold of Winter. Autumn wipes away the stickiness of Summer in a blast.
When Autumn arrives it seems to be all of a sudden. It sort of blurs into Winter as the rain gradually gets rainier, the wind gradually get windier, and the dark gradually gets… darkier? The same with Spring into Summer, it just slowly transitions. Spring and Autumn arrive with a pop, but Autumn. Autumn.
I love the coziness of Autumn. Right now the curtains are closed, the scent of vanilla candles is wafting through the air, and my nice soft pyjamas are on. The big kids are tucked up under their duvets and the baby is fast asleep in a fleecy onesie. The cat has moved inside after her Summer nights of feline fiestas. Everything is blankets and fluff when you’re inside, crisp crunchiness when you’re outside.
But I didn’t always feel this way. When I was little I wanted Summer to last forever. Summer was freedom. It was escape. It was me climbing trees, watching movies, walking dogs, reading books, playing with dolls, and writing comic books. It was time on my own when I needed it, playing with friends should I want it. It was no school. Autumn meant the return of school. Autumn meant the freedom was over. How I loathed Autumn.
Over the Summer Miss Rose was super excited for the start of school. She missed the other kids, she missed learning, and she missed her teachers.
Now I fear she will dread the arrival of Autumn.
I dreaded the start of school. I was so happy not having to socialise every damn day with people I didn’t like and who didn’t like me, and had to be nice to people who I had to pretend to like. I was happy not having to learn about things I just didn’t like or understand, and I was happy not feeling stupid. I hated school.
Rose used to love school.
Today she ran. As I went to leave she screamed and cried and begged me not to go, she clung to me but I pushed her towards the classroom and, feeling like the most cruel and horrible woman in the world, I went to leave. She broke free. She ran.
I had the baby strapped to my chest but, luckily for me, The Boy’s ex wife was with me at the time and she shoved her keys to me and chased after Rose. I screamed for her to stop, trying not to rock Baby B about too much, and Rose made it nearly to the gate onto the street before she was caught. Sobbing in K’s arms she was brought back and, after a tearful goodbye, handed to Miss Kirsty who gave her a cuddle and carried her inside.
At pick up she came out looking sorry for herself, gave me a cuddle and told me she was sorry she ran away. Miss Kirsty told me she’d done really well in her phonics and had been very good, but Rose just seemed thrilled to be leaving.
The beauty of Autumn was lost to me for most of my life. Well into adulthood I despised it, a feeling of heavy, grey, dank misery falling over me until the realisation that I wasn’t going to school anymore properly set in. Hopefully I can help Rose embrace it and the key is to make her happier at school.
The key to happiness at school?
I don’t know… I was miserable at school… what would have been my salvation?
If she’s anything like me, which in so many ways she is, she will quickly master fake happiness and fake calm. Because it makes it easier. You can find stuff to enjoy more easily, and find people are more welcoming to those with a smile.
But real happiness at school? Who knows. Maybe Autumn will feel like a curse to her for the next twenty years too. But I will try. I will try.
And I will keep loving my cosy pyjamas, fluffy tights, candles and closed curtains.
If you have any thoughts I would love to hear from you. All my contact information is available on www.jjbarnes.co.uk and I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so get in touch! You will also find links on there to my podcasts and also the novels I have written, so check them out. Thanks!