Pumpkin spice everything, Friday night football jamborees, and having the ability to sit on your front porch and rock without sweating as you enjoy the (semi-cool) evening air. These are all welcome signs of fall in Alabama.  

So, what do we do when we find our children (finally) settled into school routines? What to do when we finally catch a break from the steady string of holidays that necessitate yard decorations, food preparation, and family gatherings that leave us wiped out? We get comfortable and fall around, or course.  

Second to summer, fall is my favorite season because it gives us moms room to just be. Were not chasing our kiddos around the neighborhood like we do during summer as they trek the streets, worrying about how they may be forgetting everything they learned the previous school term. And we’re not yet trying to find a balance between hot and humid Alabama weather one day and potential icy streets the next as we shop for school clothes during winter months. We can relax and find ourselves in a routine void of stress, unpredictability, and busyness.  This fall, I have found so much happiness in the day to day responsibilities that go along with having a family. I’ve especially enjoyed our discovery of intellectually and entertaining day trips that give us time together, help us grow and learn, and help us discover new things about the state in which we live.  

Trying to figure out what you want to do as it pertains to a long-term career is a pretty daunting task. And it should be. Teenagers have a hard time picking out shoes… you think they have a clue what they want to do for the rest of their life 

The masses have returned.

Tuscaloosa is weird. Within our humble city lies all facets of industry providing gainful employment to anyone looking to make an honest living. Good, hard-working, blue-collar people are primarily what make our area tick. The industries feed our economy and our families whether you or a family member are directly employed by them or not. 

Six years, three months, and 10 days into motherhood, I have noticed some things. I’ve hit a high professionally, my Little is more independent of me and is thriving in his new school environment, and he and I have had conversations that are a little bit more “grown-up” than normal. We’ve talked back and forth, about big people things, with no tantrums or denials of guilt and amusingly solid moments of reflection on his behalf. Is this what it’s like when previous stressors become mere normality, depositing blocks of time back in your day since they are no longer causes for anxiety? I think so. 

What am I to do? Amid moving to a new home, navigating a new business, and learning a new way to school for my Little, there are some key things I’m trying to remember as I learn this new way of motherhood. I’m surviving and growing independent while my Little does the same. 

There are dozens of reasons to appreciate The Sidewalk Film Festival, downtown Birmingham’s annual seven venue showcase of films, food and community. The most obvious is the thrill of seeing films with an audience. In an age of multi-media input and output, which is all but demanding that the audience enjoy their movies in the comfort of their own home, there is still a purity and a thrill to sitting in the dark with a group of strangers have sharing a common emotion.

Do you choose your friends, or do you your friends choose you? 

That debate has gone on for years, and I don’t think I seriously formed an opinion about it until I started doing Campus Life 10 years ago. As we have discussed a wide range of topics with students over the years, friendship has certainly been a recurring theme. Now that my own children are coming of age, the topic means even more to me.   

Each August, I pull out my calendar and try to rein in my activities. I always look forward to a fresh new one. Now is the time. I tend to over-complicate things, creating my own dated calendar each season tailored to my personal goals and my moving target of a work schedule. 

With a son going into first grade this fall, my husband and I are learning quite a bit about options. Should our Little buy hot lunch, or bring a lunchbox from home? Do we feel safe with him riding the school bus? Should we come straight home and start our evening as a family early, or allow him to spend a few days after school participating in extended enrichment activities? Also, if we do decide on said enrichment activities, how often should we participate, should we stick to what our Little likes, or try something we think will be more beneficial in the long term?

Whew. 

With school right around the corner, I’m navigating through these decisions, and I’ve reached a few possible conclusions. 

Growing up, so many aspects of my life revolved around swimming. There was team practice, competitions year round, and, best of all, those shopping trips with my mother to buy new swim gear. And then? You guessed it, rinse and repeat. For 12 years. 

With a growing Little, I’ve had an internal battle. Should I teach him to swim on my own, or should I send him to a more traditional summer swim training program? I opted for the latter, and here are a few things I have learned in the process.

At differing times in life, everyone should take time to reflect and be painfully honest: What have I accomplished? What were my mistakes? Where do I want to go from here? And, how can I do better in the future?

Here’s the deal with mistakes: most people think of failure as an enemy to success. It’s not. The only way you learn from mistakes is to make them.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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