I love fall. There's a reason I chose October to get married. There's the beautiful colors, the crisp air, the first smell of fireplaces starting up, and most of all it's the time of year we begin spending more time indoors together. For some, spring is a favorite season because of new life growing all around, the promise of warm days ahead, and the chance after a cold winter and dark nights to get outside and reconnect with nature. Yet, for me, fall holds the promise of cold days ahead, hot meals simmering on the stove, warm fires, and a nesting instinct to cuddle close with my family and enjoy the quiet days and nights.
This past weekend we celebrated my son's 10th birthday. He had a blast with family on Friday, party with friends on Saturday, and the Redskins game with Daddy on Sunday. For me, the passing celebrations bring on a touch of sadness. Even at their young ages, I feel the foreboding fear of my children slipping away as they get older. There was a time when they would never leave my side and hung onto every word I said. Back then, I'd complain about needing breathing room. They'd want to help in the kitchen, help with homework, help to color, help, help help! Now, they bury their faces into their iPads and pods, cover their ears with headphones. They complain about my music, go off to bedrooms behind shut doors, and sit in silence in the car. I used to love the silence.
On Sunday, I was nostalgic for the days when every new thing brought utter joy to my daughter's face. She loved new experiences and to share it all with me. Now, at 12, I get the feeling I'm just an old lady to her who has no idea whatsoever what it's like to be her age with her "problems". And, then, while the boys were off and the three year old was taking a surprise nap, she sat down on the couch with me. We watched the Redskins together, cuddled close with our 15 year old and very sick dog between us on top of a blanket we shared. We leaned in together, touching shoulders with our legs entwined. We didn't say much but we were together. For an afternoon, we sat like we used to when she was little. No friends knocking, no phones ringing, just together and present with each other.
For me, the fall season gives us this chance and these moments to cherish when they are fleeting. It allows a time to bond and be close, to sit at the family table, to not be in constant motion running the kids to this practice and that game. Fall holds the promise, for me, of shorter days and longer nights to be together. Bonding.