My Sun Sets to Rise Again

“[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.”   ― Wallace StegnerAngle of Repose

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I was born on Labor Day.  Actually, I was born a few hours after Labor Day at three o’clock in the morning.  Although Labor Day is not my actual birthday, it sure feels like it. The day has always been dedicated to me.  And, as my mom always jokes, “Labor Day was named after me because I went into labor with Deanne that day.”

Every year on Labor Day weekend, I would have a big slumber party.  I invited all my best girlfriends, moved the furniture in the family room up against the walls and decorated with balloons and streamers.  We would swim, dance, eat too much cake, play “Light as a Feather, “Stiff as a Board,” and watch the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

I grew up with Jerry.  The first Jerry Lewis telethon was aired on Labor Day in 1966, the year I was born.  I loved him and his movies, especially “The Bell Boy.”  And, I felt lucky that with only five channels to choose from, all that went off the air at midnight, that my birthday was the only night of the year there was a television show on all night long.  It made me feel special.  We would watch Jerry push himself as he stayed up 24 hours straight raising thousands of dollars for muscular dystrophy with guests like Ed McMahon, Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Oralndo and Dawn, “Tie a yellow ribbon ‘round the old oak tree!”  If Jerry could do it, we could do it!

But we couldn’t.  We didn’t.  At some point in time, we always fell asleep.

The first day of school after summer vacation always followed Labor Day.  Even though I was exhausted from the night before, I was excited for a new year to begin.  I would unwrap my new pens and erasers, set up my pencil box and three ring binder, and lay out my new fall clothes for the next morning.  I was so excited to wear my new outfits I didn’t care that it was still 110 degrees in the shade as I slipped into my 70’s gold turtle neck top, matching corduroy skirt and itchy tights.

Labor Day weekend always signified change for me; another year older, a brand new wardrobe and a new year in school.  But after years of no telethon, hundreds of channels and homeschooling, Labor Day weekend became just another weekend.  Until now!

This year Labor Day weekend yet again signifies change!

We are moving!  It was only a year and a half ago that we moved into this glorious monster of a house.  With its flowing waterfalls, lush zen garden and Koi ponds it has been both a blessing and a nightmare.  Parties, book groups, poetry workshops, rock concerts, movie nights, new friends and late night Nerf Gun Wars have filled both these walls and our hearts.  But so has flooded sump pumps, overflowing toilets, root infested pipes, armies of ants and the never ending wrath of the Santa Ana winds leaving me with two days of yard work and resentment.

Midnight Nerf Gun Wars

Mother Function Concert in our Garage

So after careful deliberation, we have decided to sell our home and move on to something less monstrous, less glorious, less work, less money, less;  but in the long run I know it will bring to my life so much more.

The house should be up for sale by this Friday on my birthday.  I am sad to say good bye.  Although I will miss our midnight Nerf Gun Wars and movie nights, they will always be a part of me just like those late night slumber parties and Jerry Lewis telethons.  In some ways, it is the end of an era for me, in others, a new beginning.  But I am not afraid of new beginnings (well maybe a little).  I just don’t always like the death that precedes it.

But as Robert Browning writes, “My sun sets to rise again.”  So, as the sun sets this Labor Day, I will unwrap my new pens and erasers, set up my pencil box and three ring binder and lay out my new fall clothes for a new year, a new beginning!  I am born again this Labor Day weekend.  Happy Birthday to me!

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