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Prime Time: September is fresh-start month in many ways

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September is birthday month for a number of our family members.

Although my sister and I are 12 years apart in age, our birthdays are just three days apart in the first week of September. I am not sure if that says something about mother's idea of family planning or just happenstance. Fortunately, the wide age difference made me old enough and secure enough not to be offended by the big doings that tended to surrounded the celebration of my "little" sister Hope's big day, which came three days ahead of mine. I tended to joke that they chose her name hoping she would turn out better than I did. She definitely turned out to be taller.

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For families of students from kindergarten to college age, September is much more the beginning of the year than January can ever be. In fact, January may be a numerical beginning, but for students and teachers it is back to the classroom time and a struggle to get out of holiday mode and back into daily class and study routine. For kids who really like school it is a good feeling of a fresh start and sometimes a kind of relief to return to daily routine and contact with friends.

Before long the winter weather and importance of doing well in class and often working on special reports in several subjects make the prospect of spring vacation eagerly anticipated. In some schools, that time off comes at Easter, but in others, spring break is set to make a reasonable division between New Year's Day and the end of the school year. In our northern area of the country, the weather at that time can range from dreary late winter cold and snow to the delightfully mild lengthening days of early spring.

Now that my sister is in her early seventies and I am getting perilously close to 90, September celebrations of the birthdays of some of the much younger family members are taking over those early fall dates. Our one grandson has a daughter and twin sons all with September arrival days.

My attitude toward the time of the start of school in relation to my birthday varied over the years. When I was in the early grades, I hoped school would be back in session. Mother made treats for me to bring to share with classmates and much was made of my celebration. Later when this sort of school day party was not an option, I hoped the school year would begin later or my day would fall on a weekend and there could be a major family celebration.

I know that some people complain when they get old that they don't want to be reminded of their age with cakes and parties, but I am all for making each milestone a happy celebration of life, delight in a growing family and hope for the future.

So you can be sure that this year I will be having a joyous celebration and eating cake to mark my big number 88.

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