Thursday, September 1, 2011

The REAL New Year

Millie writes:

To quote Jan Struther’s Mrs. Miniver, to my mind September “. . . is the real New Year. That laborious affair in January [is] nothing but a name.”

Going back to school is inextricably bound up with this month, even if we haven’t actually gone back to school for decades. September means a new start, another chance to get it right, to “do better.” September ushers in sweater weather, crisp mornings and trees robed in scarlets, oranges and golds to rival any fireworks display.

In September we’re ready to learn new things, and to see old things in new ways.

Take a moment, as this hectic month unfolds, to look at your family with fresh eyes. You are very familiar with the many ways in which you show your love to them – large or small, everything you do for your family is a mute testimonial to your affection.

How long has it been since you noticed the many unspoken ways in which they show their love for you?

“I love you” can be said in a lot of different ways:

The son who puts “your” cup in the front of the dishwasher when he loads it each night, so your groping hand can find it easily at 6 a.m.;

The daughter who sends you a quick text to let you know she’s arrived at her destination, even though you argued before she left;

The son who tucks you into bed when you’re feeling sickly, complete with a story and a song;

The daughter who gives you beautiful jewelry or art supplies on every occasion, because she recognizes a kindred spirit - even though all she’s ever seen you do is housework, errands and Mom-stuff;

The husband who, knowing you’re on a diet, arranges with a local McDonald’s to make an Atkins-friendly Quarter-Pounder with Cheese for you on Date Night.

A family is a group of people who live together in almost unremitting intimacy. Squabbles, hurt feelings and shouted orders are unavoidable in even the closest families. It’s a mistake to hold onto these hurt feelings; it’s a mistake to concentrate on the irritants rather than the delights. This month, try to notice the small, mute “I love yous” that come your way, and let the petty annoyances roll off your back.

If you can do this, September will not only be the start of a great New Year – it will be Thanksgiving!


  1. When I worked at McDonald's (gosh, has it really been nearly a decade ago??) we'd get people asking for burgers "hold the bun" and would put it in whatever container was handy. I worked there before the advent of those nifty salad containers! And you're right, we should definitely be looking for the joy around us.

  2. Maggie, before Red became a barista I had NO IDEA that fast-food places had such a thing as a "secret menu" if you just knew what to ask for. It's been such an eye-opener!


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