Fall used to be my favorite. For kids, and for moms, I think Autumn is the unofficial new year. I used to relish in buying fresh notebooks full of crisp pages, sharp pencils and color crayons with perfect points. Picking out my outfit for the first day of school was a big deal. My sister and I weren’t allowed to wear our new clothes until school began and the anticipation killed us all August long. When my own children were little, even when my oldest was in preschool, I carried on the tradition of buying new supplies, new tennis shoes, fresh pencils and paper and crayons. I loved inviting them into my own beginning of the school year traditions and reliving all those memories of my own childhood as the weather cooled and leaves began to turn.
In recent years though, I’ve felt like Autumn and particularly “back to school” has been daunting, marking time, ticking off one more season of life as I know it with my babies at home. My oldest only has two more Autumns with me at home before she takes off into the world and heads to college and at the end of each summer, I mourn its passing and find myself grasping for more minutes with each of my kids.
What all our grandmothers told us is true: Babies don't keep and when we blink, they are grown.
This Fall? A surprise awaits our family too. A baby, long prayed for, and completely unexpected will join our crew, and the traditions of welcoming Autumn will begin all over for another 18 years. I’ve realized as I prepare for this child, that my enjoyment of his little years, the way I engage them and invest in them, will have a profound impact on how I embrace the season before he leaves home someday. And in anticipation of welcoming him, I’m embracing the season of preparing my oldest to launch into the world with greater joy and intention… perhaps because it all feels so precious and so very sacred to imagine seasons colliding, to picture holding a newborn and encouraging calculus.