Making Peace With September While Hating September

I want to like September.

I want to breathe in crisp air, hinting at fall and cooler days.

I want to be that woman who breaks out all things pumpkin spice as soon as Labor Day weekend is behind us.

But frankly, September is a rough month in my family.

My father-in-law, Kevin, died suddenly and tragically in September, 2010 — just after Piers’ birthday and three days before Gil’s. Nothing like a death wedgie to cap off what might otherwise be a celebratory month. One might think that six years after the fact that it would be easier. I suppose it is, but every year something happens that feels like an in-the-face reminder.

This year, for Piers’ birthday, I decided to take Marie (my mother-in-law who is remarried to New Kevin — my clever name for him. DID SHE REALLY HAVE TO FALL FOR SOMEONE WITH THE SAME NAME?) up on her offer to have a party at “The Farm.” She and New Kevin live outside of Atlanta, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a party without spending a lot of money, AND Marie begs us to visit them more often. We don’t because Gil can’t handle it, but I can’t get in to all of that at the moment.

I asked Gil to talk to his mom so we could figure out which day would work best. I made the mistake of not following up. Well, actually I did follow up and Gil said, “Viv, I told you I’d handle it. I don’t need you to question me about it every day.”

Well, here’s how well not questioning him worked out:

Marie and New Kevin had other plans.

Either Marie told Gil that they were going out of town that weekend weeks ago and he didn’t bother telling me, OR Gil didn’t ask her until the Sunday before Labor Day weekend. Regardless, the farm party couldn’t happen because New Kevin and Marie were going to the opening game at his beloved alma mater where they have season tickets for football and basketball season, and this blessed place is oh, fifteen hours one way from where they live. Isn’t that convenient? Please excuse my snark. One issue we have with New Kevin is that everything is about him and what HE wants, and Marie is happy to jump. Which, on one hand, fine. She absolutely deserves to be happy, and if she truly is, I’m thrilled for her, BUT she often seems stressed and torn, as if she wants to be with her kids and grandkids but “well, Kevin loves meeting up with his friends at the games.”

So…after hearing the news that the farm birthday party wasn’t gonna happen 1) Gil was a hot, moody mess because he can’t say that he’s mad (he’s not comfortable with his own damn emotions about anything, especially his mom and her new husband), and 2) Now I had to quickly scramble to get some sort of party thrown together for Piers.

Have I mentioned here that party planning is not one of my strengths?

Oh, I’m awesome AT parties — even my own. I can chat up most anyone and am very skilled at putting miserable party guests at ease. I was a chronic floater back in my sorority days. Yes I was in a sorority; no I’m not even remotely cut out for sorority life, and yes, it was a complete disaster.

A floater is a person who moves around the room and notices when her “sisters” look awkward and uncomfortable with the conversation. The floater swoops in and relieves random “sister” and the poor potential young awkward rushee who likely won’t be getting a bid. This is reminding me of the hell that was sorority life. Basically, floaters can talk to the wall and in my experience should probably go find a better way to spend their time instead of pretending that ice water socials are the bomb. They actually suck, in my humble opinion. Anyway…

For what it’s worth, I have lots of friends who consider their sorority days the best of their lives. They are awesome women who I deeply respect. It just was not my cup of, um, ice water.

I can throw parties like the scrambling last-minute chick I am, but I CAN NOT, for the life of me plan a party with a theme. I buy too much food or not enough. It’s a complete train wreck, and I end up either having an anxiety attack in my closet or drinking ridiculous amounts of wine and feel like dead flounder the next day. Either way it takes weeks for me to recover from all this kid birthday party planning — plus there’s the fact that I have to speed clean so no one sees the disaster that is my house in its typical fashion.

So no farm and now I have to come up with a new party plan. Well…luckily (and yes, I AM being sarcastic here if this ADD rant is not making any sense) we had a hurricane.

Hermine swooped in on Thursday before Labor Day and our little island lost power for two days. It was fine. Seriously. Lots of wind and some limbs down, but I honestly can’t complain at all considering what people in other parts of the country are going through with flooding. Hermine was nothing in Savannah. But it did put a little damper on the already up-in-the-air birthday celebration.

It was fine. Piers had a nice celebration with the four of us, and he learned a little about how sometimes things happen.

However…Piers’ birthday is always a little emotional for me because it’s a reminder of the excruciatingly rough labor and delivery followed by months of crippling postpartum depression and anxiety I experienced after his birth. Additionally, Piers was not planned, and with things going on in our lives prior to his conception, an unplanned pregnancy was beyond untimely.

There are simply all kinds of feels that come up when his birthday rolls around every year. It’s almost as if I have some sort of mini-rebound spaz-out. I question myself as his mother; I obsess about his developmental milestones and inevitably blame myself for any perceived shortcomings. For example, any other time of the year, Piers might be overly emotional and I might think — wow, he needs more sleep. I should be more mindful of that…and then I make sure he goes to bed earlier for the next few days. End of story.

If Piers utters the slightest whine or has a typical kid outburst in September…it’s because I’m a failure of a mother and I convince myself that his behavior is ALL because I wasn’t in tune with him in utero. I obsess and worry that I didn’t bond properly with him when he was born because I was so depressed. I KNOW in my case this is not true. I had more anxiety and never let the poor child out of my sight. I didn’t sleep and stared at him whenever he slept because I was convinced he would stop breathing if I took my eyes off of him. I was a mess. Seriously…but I do this shit around his birthday. I obsess.

Okay, this got very long. I told myself I was going to write and post, but there is still so much more to tell in terms of why September is downright dreadful.

To be continued….















21 thoughts on “Making Peace With September While Hating September

  1. I have this every October. This year I am taking up ur walk at night idea and attempting to focus in joy that is present NOW. Thank u for your relatable writing.


  2. Dang, you’ve had enough going on out there, haven’t you?
    This was (forgive me) a darkly hilarious post – you made me laugh a few times, but I definitely did not laugh when I came to the postpartum depression part. I am **so** sorry….you know I understand depression way the hell more than I’d ever want to understand it. I had it too with Rilla after the mania melted away…

    I want to know more about why September is a yuckfest, if you’re still up for it!
    I hope things are smoothing out and that your weekend is a good one, my beautiful gal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. August is a rough time for me, as well. My grandfather and father had birthdays right next to each other; Bo also has a birthday in August, so we often made August a celebratory month before school started. Then Grandpa died. The year after, Dad. Bo feels just as mixed about May–our daughter was born on his birthday; he didn’t to share one with her. Loss and life spliced together…yes, it’s hard.
    And I suck at party-planning, too. Lasty year my aunt up and declared I had to throw a birthday party for my mother, with whom I don’t get along. I was so thrown, that I, well, did it, but I invited family that apparently my mother wasn’t keen to see, as she and my aunt basically stayed in the house while everyone else was outside.
    Yeah, not a fan of this whole “hosting a party” thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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