The change in season is palpable from my chair in the front yard. The heat of late summer is (mostly) behind us, the endlessly lit evenings have passed, and daylight savings ends in a few short weeks. Fall is here, and my whole body relaxes into it, while the kids soak up the last of the sunny, late afternoons.
It is still warm enough that the kids are in tee shirts. Owen is practicing soccer: kicking the ball into the goal, rolling it back and forth under his five inch foot, and throwing it up as high as he can into the sky (“Now clap!”). That last move may not be part of the World Cup practice drills, but it is helping to release his restless energy.
Addie looks wild, in unicorn pants that would stay up better if not for the too small, star “leg warmers” bunched around her ankles. We have yet another talk about the leg warmers (which are sized for babies but have been unsuccessfully removed from her drawer countless times since she, in fact, stopped being a baby). I remind her how tight they are, that we should find her new leg warmers and pass those down to baby sister. The kid fears change though, so a meltdown begins, and I let it go again. Who has the energy to provoke a preschooler at five pm? It’s never worth it.
I sip on iced tea (one of the few beverages that doesn’t give me debilitating heartburn), but in a month or less it will be replaced by a hot beverage. A little warmth of the day lingers in the air. Not the blazing summer heat but a gentle glow that never gets oppressive, loses its luster in the slightest of shade or breeze, and dies out with sunset. I breathe in the mild air and sigh it out of my cramped-by-baby lungs.
The kids start a new project: something involving piles of wood and gravel leftover from the summer’s yard remodel. I sit in a broken glider chair, recently relocated outside to make room for its replacement. I find it hard to let go of this chair – a gift from my grandmother during my first pregnancy. I nursed each of my babies in it (the spit up stains deep in the crevices serve as a reminder). In the last year, they have flung it wildly backward to the point where it no longer sits straight, and bent an arm so far to the side that it’s roomy enough for us all now. The glide has been replaced by broken clunks, and the footstool died months ago. Not everything can last through all three babies, I guess, but I’ll cling to this one until the rains hit.
Rousing myself from memories, I realize evening is almost upon us and this late afternoon peace is fading. The light shifts to an impending sunset. The breeze picks up to a cool, fall pace. The kids shift into witching hour mode and there are all the fires to put out: fights over bubbles, dog toys, chalk, and space. Issues over a bike not to ride on the new lawn, a piece of wood unsafe to fling around in battle, and flowers not to be picked, push us toward the warm living room. I have skinned knees to kiss, dinner in the oven to check, big feelings and problems to talk through, and I need to pee (obviously).
The moment was nice to savor, though – taking notice of fall finally feeling like it. Some days are so full of heavy, serious issues. Busy, mundane weeks can fly by without the time to contemplate the way I feel about anything, in any moment. I often have no energy for reflection, passing out from exhaustion the second the kids fall asleep.
Amidst all the hustle and bustle, the focus on kids, pregnancy, and the daily grind, I’ll take a little gratitude in something so simple as the time passing into my favorite season.