First Day and Everyday


First grade starts next week.

First grade for my kind, freckled thinker who is finding his voice, and up at night pondering the merits of inboard motors.

He will be fine.  What choice does he have other than to be fine, to navigate his life on his own, at least a little bit, and figure out the way of the world through the small, significant, triumphs and heartbreaks of childhood.

The skinny-legged boy with the too-big backpack (aren’t they all?) will walk into school and I will drive away.  And get a coffee.  And drive to work.  I will not worry.

I am ready for the big moments.

I am ready for first steps, lost teeth, first days.  I am ready to watch them glide away without training wheels, to sound out books on their own, to tie their shoes.

My tender heart catches when I least expect it.

When the biggest helps the littlest with his shoes.

When the middle uses a big word I haven’t heard her use before.

When the wobbly toddler gait all of a sudden becomes smooth and coordinated.

We may mark the time with first steps and first days.  But it is those tiny changes, the ones we almost don’t see, that add up to people, our people, growing a hair’s width every night.  Our little people whose lives slowly and beautifully start to become their own, separate from us.  One millimeter, one second at a time.

In the cool dark, the clock ticks and they sing our bedtime songs with lyrics of their own.  And then a quiet pause as they drift away into dreams that are theirs alone.



Falling for Fall…

I think I remember my 7th grade English teacher insisting that the names of the seasons needed to be capitalized.  But now I am second-guessing my memory and Mrs. Dussault.  Anywho.  That’s neither here nor there.

I love Fall.  I happen to live in a place where Fall is incredibly beautiful. It is my favorite season.  It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears – summer is too hot, winter is too long and too darn slushy, and Spring has too many black flies and too much mud.  Fall?  Perfection.  In no particular order here are 5 reasons I love Fall…

  1. Wood smoke.  People around here hunker down, and light up the fireplace or wood stove to take the chill off during chilly autumn nights.  An evening walk on crunchy leaves, while sniffing the wood smoke and wearing a sweater?  Perfection.
  2. Back to School!  I’m too old for back to school, and Mr. Pickle Pumpkin is too young.  But I always feel like Fall is the time of new beginnings.  Sure there are buds on trees, lambs, chicks, and flowers pushing through the earth in the Spring, but Fall always feels like the beginning to me.  New notebooks, a new outfit, and a new adventure.  (I suspect I feel this way because I loved school.  Dork? Me? Yes.)  
  3. Leaves.  I live in the land of maple trees!  The lovely reds, yellows, oranges never ever get old.  When the sun is shining golden it is hard to imagine a prettier place on earth. I love the way they smell, I love the way they rustle and crunch when you walk through them.  I do not love raking.  That’s what leafblowers and husbands were invented for.  
  4. Sweaters.  They are very forgiving for the less than svelte.  Especially compared to the shorts and tank tops (no, I’ll never wear one) of summer.  And they’re cozy.  And you can wash them less than sweaty summer tank tops.  Everyone wins. Especially the people who don’t want to see me in a tank top. Added bonus: it is no longer swimsuit season.
  5. Fall food.  (My rant against pumpkin-flavored-everything will come later.) Apples, apple pie, apple crisp, apple cider.  Soups.  That one deserves some more attention: SOUPS.  Warm food, food that simmers, food that isn’t salad.  Food that bakes, braises, bubbles all day long making the house warm and delicious-smelling.

Happy Fall!