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In My Own Words

Just a spoonful of sugar

Jacqueline Quillen-Fennington
MSM Class of 2010

Lucy Fennington was born the first day of Autumn!

(10/2011) As summer comes to an end, this crisp, fresh air gets me thinking about new beginnings. Spring is typically known for being the season of new beginnings, but I beg to differ.

Fall kicks off the beginning of a new school year, a new sports season and the start of the new fiscal year. People return from summer vacation to a fresh start at work. It may be the start of a new job or a new role, like becoming a parent, a sibling, or maybe an aunt or uncle. If you are not a student or a parent, you may be reminded that it’s that time of year again by the school bus you got stuck behind on the way to work, which ended up making you late for work with its many stops on one road. Why can’t all the children who live along that road gather at one stop to make things easier? Now you have to leave five minutes earlier just to beat the bus! As traffic patterns change with buses and minivans taking over the roads in the mornings and afternoons, street corners become crowded with either children waiting for the bus or crossing guards waiting for children walking to school.

In my mind, Fall is the beginning of new routines, which define our every movement of every day. Students dive into another school year with a new schedule, which means parents adjust to a new schedule as well to accommodate getting their kids to and from school, sports practices, group projects, etc. We usually hold off on making resolutions until Jan. 1, when we should really be making these resolutions in the Fall, in the heart of change. By January we are already in the middle of our routines. We are more likely to stick with the resolution if we make it when we begin a new experience, not when we are halfway through it. I can’t remember when I ever kept a new year’s resolution I made in January, which is sad to admit, but how many people can say the same thing?

Who wants to start a running schedule in the dead of winter? Wouldn’t you rather hibernate in sweats and eat warm, yummy food! I find it easier to make excuses to skip out on my resolution when I have been in the habit of not doing whatever the resolution was for the past few months. Start an exercise schedule in the Fall when the weather is crisp and fresh, try to push through the tough winter months and then finish up strong in the Spring time. Getting in a good few months of exercise would probably make us feel better about ourselves by the time winter rolls around and we begin slacking on the exercise and indulging more in the food, especially around the holidays. Starting in the Fall would also make it easier to pick up again in the Spring when the weather is nice. Rather than Spring being a new beginning, Spring is the time we should kick it back into gear and follow through with the resolutions we made in the Fall.

After all this talk about making resolutions and how to stick to them, I have not actually made a resolution for myself. Maybe I should practice what I preach! I have very high expectations of myself to exercise this Fall in hopes of losing all that baby weight. Seeing that I have never stuck to an exercise plan, I fear the excuses I will make for myself to not exercise. I can just see it now – I will start telling myself things like, Well, I should really take a nap rather than go for a run because I have missed so much sleep with the baby, and Of course you can have dessert – you just had a baby! I will become my own worst enemy.

This Fall is a significant new beginning for me because I will become a parent any day now. My non-parent years are over, forever! No matter how you word this concept – You’re going to be a mother, you’re never going to be a non-parent again, you have a baby coming, etc. – it still sends chills down my spine (in a good way). Every time someone says this to me, as if I don’t already know, it feels almost exactly like the time I first found out I was expecting. Even now, at the end of my pregnancy when I know the only next step is the baby, it still feels like a surprise. I don’t think I will ever fully understand the concept until I am holding our baby in my arms. Even then it may still feel surreal.

The day before my due date, Thursday, Sept. 15, was a unique day that got me thinking about Fall and new beginnings. I woke up about 30 minutes before my alarm, which was perfect. It was enough time for me to enjoy the morning in bed without falling back asleep and feeling even more sluggish when the alarm would sound. There was even a nice breeze coming through the window that made me fall in love with the day already. By the time my alarm went off, I was ready to shower and did not have to rely on the snooze button to save me…twice. I enjoyed my breakfast without rushing and took off for work ready to seize the day.

Knowing that my due date was the next day, I worked with a sense of urgency to finish-up projects just in case I would not be there the next day. I came to a good stopping point on all of my projects, which felt incredibly productive. At the same time, my phone was ringing off the hook with family and friends wondering if I had gone into labor and if not, whether I was ready or not. How can you truly be ready for that event? Regardless, everyone remembered the baby’s due date and let me know they were thinking about us. It was an incredible feeling to know how loved our baby is already.

Throughout the day I was unstoppable and full of energy. The winds had changed that day, literally and figuratively, and were fresh and crisp with Autumn air. Even the radio host commented on the winds changing. When I heard that, it reminded me of Mary Poppins, floating in the air ever so gracefully with her umbrella, and how she says she moves on to another family when the winds change and her work with the Banks children was done.

As the winds change, let it remind us that this Fall is another new beginning, a fresh start to something new, anything we choose. Let us set new goals at home, at work, in our personal lives, wherever we may need to see change. And when the road gets bumpy, remember that just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!

Read other articles by Jacqueline Quillen