One of my favorite smells is “new book smell.” Back in my homeschool days, I used to look forward to the day when the huge, heavy boxes of all my school books for the year would show up. I would struggle to get them upstairs, rip them open, pull out all my books and start flipping through all the pictures of the things that I would learn. As I cracked the covers open I would bury my face inside the pages to inhale a deep whiff of that crisp new book smell.
Yes. I was a nerd. I joined science club. I hung out with nerds (and married one). And I sniffed my books… there you have it all my deep dark secrets.
Now, I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but back to school is all around us. The specials are on at the store, and outside the air is starting to change from summer to fall air. The school bus that stops in front of Will and I’s house has returned as a faithful alarm telling me when to leave for work, and the houses around us have been slowly filling up with the returning migration of college students (consequently so are the streets).
Last year at this time Will and I were eating dinners that consisted of chocolate covered raisins in the car on our way to and from bed, bath, and beyond or target as we were making exchanges and making a home. I am not even sure if we had chairs at our kitchen table yet. Needless to say, I didn’t notice the season of academia roaring into full force around me last year.
But this year, everyone is going back to school, and I am not. What’s even stranger is that this is the second year in a row that I am not going back to school. I did take a year off during college to do an internship, so maybe missing one year of school did not seem abnormal to me. Now here I am – at the start of year two. I am out of school, with no plans of going back for a different degree or a master’s degree. I guess that means I am growing up.
Carrieli, who used to be this little 12 year old who I threw rocks in the creek with the first time I came to Kentucky, is now in high school! She is growing up! I really must be growing up then….
I’ll be honest, sometimes I day dream about school, reminisce the good ol’ days. I definitely miss the social aspect of it. I miss learning being handed to you; whereas now if I want to learn something I have to create that opportunity. I miss some of the people I went to school with and the shenanigans we would get away with. I miss taking a foreign language. My Spanish couldn’t get past the 1st quarter of Spanish 1, and my Chinese is nearly non-existent. I miss being on a soccer team, all the hard work, camaraderie, competition, and laughs. And yes, I miss the new book smell.
However, when I think back on those things, they have the flavor of nostalgia, rather than the flavor of longing. I miss those enjoyable memories, but I do not long to repeat those days. I miss the environment, but I am thoroughly enjoying where I am. I guess that means I really am growing up.
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