A Farewell to Fall {twenty fifteen}

September, October, and November played out before my eyes like a beautiful ballet set the most magical of symphonies. Fall, it seems, has become my favorite season. It lives so quietly between the raucous racket that is summer and that hush and darkening that is winter.

In September when the days were still blasted by the Central Valley sun, we spent our back to school evenings relearning old routines, forgotten in the lazy days of summer. We bound ourselves to dance schedules and scout schedules and weekends that are rarely carefree. We buckled down and learned our spelling words and new math equations. We spent the last few moments of sunlight playing with friends and trying to hold on to those last few hours of light.

In October we could almost smell autumn in the air. We pulled out our jeans and boots a little too early, cursed rainy days for being too muggy and not cold enough. We changed our minds about what to dress as for Halloween two and three times, sending this mother into anxious territories. We added blankets at night and layers in the morning and found ourselves reaching for our summer shorts less and less. Then one night, after Trick or Treating, we kissed the mild nights goodbye and welcome the chill of fall with our arms open and boots on our feet.

In November we found gratitude in everything we did. We talked of Pilgrims and Indians, turkey and stuffing. We wraped ourselves in blanket scarves and wore boot socks. Our lives were filled with the sweet smells of pumpkin spice and apple pies and when the wind blew a certain way, sometimes we caught a whiff of pine. This November it rained and we rejoiced, even when we had to be out in it without umbrellas. We said yes to hot chocolate at breakfast, yes to green bean casseroles that we had never made in our lives, yes to more hours spent volunteering in classrooms where we are welcomed and loved. Today I noticed the leaves were changing and falling, that everything was becoming aglow, just in time for Winter, just in time for the season of lights.

Fall came and went, beautifully, set to a song, and I did not hold on. I didn't kick and scream as the months began and ended, because I was as present as possible. I didn't spend my days behind the screen like years past. I didn't post every single moment to Instagram. But we had moments. We had days that were wonderful and days that were forgettable, because we are humans. I'm not a perfect person or a perfect mother, but this season was one of perfection in my eyes. In the way we lived it. In the way we enjoyed the good and the ugly. We had our share of terrible mornings, everyone in tears. We also had mornings where we laughed and sang at the top of our lungs. I did live in a small territory of anxiety for two weeks around Halloween because my kids could not decide on their costumes, so I let go, took a breath, and let them be. I let them choose and change their minds and even on Halloween night, they still hadn't decided, but we went out anyway. Life happened and I was lucky that I didn't miss a moment.

There were so many things I loved about the Fall of twenty fifteen. I loved that Mackenzie decided she wanted to dress like a ghost for Halloween after watching It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, even if she changed her mind the day before Halloween. I loved that I got to volunteer in Caitlin's class and join her on her field trip to the fair. I loved experiencing the Pumpkin Patch field trip again with Mackenzie, and watching her among her classmates. I loved the pumpkin donuts that we made last minute. I loved the date night to the Hubbs class reunion, the days going tailgating, the Sundays that I didn't have to work. After a couple of seasons of stress, this was a season of light, a season of happy. And while we had our fare share of colds and fevers, missteps and trials, we made it through another season of life. I made it through another season of life, and I'm so grateful for that.

November for me has always been about gratitude and reflection, and this year was no exception. I made big moves this year career wise, but this season was a solid reminder that I'm right where I need to be. Physically and mentally. I'm lucky that I can scale back to being a part timer at work. I'm blessed that I have a husband that supports that decision. I know that while this has been a happy and joyous season for us as a family and me as a person, it has also been our leanest season yet. We've had to readjust and for that I'm also grateful. I've learned that I don't need much in this life except time. Time is what is most important to me these days. Time to be myself, time to mother, time to be a wife and friend. I need time to focus on what is important and what is not. I know that time doesn't pay the bills. Motherhood doesn't pay the bills. But time, motherhood, love, happiness, they fill up my cup.

Tonight my cup is full. I'll be honest and say the plans for today were foiled by two kids with coughs and some unusually cold weather for this part of California. But instead of being bummed, I'm here, writing, which feels amazing and cathartic. I'm listening to my girls play. Earlier we sang Christmas carols at the top of our lungs while getting fast food on the way home from Daddy's tailgate. We soon will be snuggling in my big bed, slumber party style and tomorrow we will pull out all the Christmas decorations and decorate our tree. The tree the Hubbs pulled out at my request even if he thinks its still too early for a tree in the house.

For me, fall ends when November comes to a close, so I will bid her farewell  as she leaves in the early morning hours on Tuesday. I will thank her for being so kind and so lovely. And I will ask her to return again next September with more love and wonder to fill up our cups and remind us of what really matters in this life. This beautiful, chaotic, perfect to me, life.

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