School started today in our town. Last night I listened to rain fall outside an open bedroom window. We woke to a clear, bright day infused with the slightest chill. Perfect weather for ushering in autumn. Soon we will take Puppy apple picking as the leaves turn amber and gold.
Since I entered preschool way back when, not a year has gone by that I've not lived by the academic calendar, either as a student, employee, or teacher's spouse. The rhythms of my life are determined by the school year, making Labor Day my New Year's Eve. January marks the mid-point in the year, not the beginning of a new one. The summer pulls me into self-evaluation and reflection; September sings of possibility and renewal. September is blank notebooks, unused erasers and a general buzz of anticipation. Even as nature draws inward, preparing for a dormant winter, I feel ready to take on something new. (If you ever want to ask a favor of me, autumn is the time to do it.)
So perhaps it was fitting that it was September when our lives first overlapped with Puppy's first parents' and the constellation of our family began to shift. I've been remembering that time as the calendar swings back around: The nervous initial phone call. My first glimpse of K and R in the restaurant lobby. Making plans for a future that was somewhat fuzzy to all of us.
The weather was hot, as it always is this time of year in Los Angeles. K was in her final month of pregnancy. Making conversation one day I said she must be looking forward to finally not being pregnant in this heat. An idle remark. She leveled a look and reminded me that the end of pregnancy meant the end of a lot more for her. No, she was not looking forward to it.
K mentioned she's been replaying events in her mind, too. Much different memories than mine, I am sure. Two years ago in September T and I were guardedly but undeniably excited, planning the beginnings of our family. Two years ago in September K was watching the day approach when she planned to tell her baby goodbye.