Back to the Fall
It is still really summer but all the fall things are beginning...back to school shopping, high school starts next week, the air is turning, weather will begin to change shortly (well maybe not here in California, but in other places) and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (I am not a fan) will be here before we know it.
It is funny how events trigger new and old feelings. I love Fall best of all the seasons. Even though Spring is the season that captures renewal as its theme, Fall for me brings so much promise and as I age, one of the things it promises is a slow-down. A changing of pace from the Spring and Summer.
I have such fond memories from my childhood of being a kid and my mom taking me back to school shopping. We would spend entire days, maybe even weekends hunting for new clothes for school, new shoes, a new backpack. It was so much fun. I loved the time spent with my mom and of course, loved all the crap she would buy me.
Last night I spent the evening with my own daughter, at the mall which is not my most favorite place, doing this annual ritual. She is far more frugal than me, looking at price tags and only wanting one new pair of shoes. I couldn’t relate to that sentiment at all!
It was a lovely time. Really. Her trying things on and me sitting there with credit card in hand to help her outfit herself for her freshman year. As I sat there waiting, watching her come out of the fitting room in one new outfit after another, I noticed what a gorgeous young woman she was. I mean it isn’t that I didn’t t notice this before...I did. But I saw who she was becoming. Her leanness making everything she put on look amazing.
My daughter is coming into her own. She is not a little girl anymore and well on her way to womanhood. She is tall and thin and strong. She has a good head on her shoulders and an even better heart. She knows who she is to whatever degree you can at 14. She is so much better off than I was at her age. I am so grateful for that.
This is a fall of potential, of moving forward, not backwards. And while the season doesn’t necessarily fit its name, Fall is a time that I begin again. That school starts and I begin to turn further inward as I brace for the darkness that is coming. I go within this time of year and come out next year feeling refreshed and renewed. It is a time of year that I fall back into myself, giving myself permission to enjoy longer walks in the woods and less stuff to do and be.
While we were engaged in rampant consumerism last night, there was a deeper meaning for me and I think her. It was a connection, a loving glance, a held gaze, it was the conversation sandwiched between stores and outfits. It was being present for her to get her prepared, if only on the outside, for the new life that awaits her in the coming year. There will be new friends and boyfriends and dances and sporting events. I hated junior high but high school was pretty fun for me. And I am very grateful that my daughter survived middle school relatively unscathed and she can begin high school excited and happy as one child can be when the topic is school.
And for me, I am settling into the new routine of a kid back at school, the external clock and deadline creator that used to rule our lives before the pandemic changed everything. I both welcome and resent it. Mostly, I look forward to all the changes that Fall brings every year a return to the familiar, the same thing at the same time. I look forward to returning to something that I have been returning to for most of my life, all the things that begin anew come Fall (school, football, cooler weather). And I am not sad at all to say goodbye to Summer because I know that I will see Summer again soon...well, and because I live in California we have at least two more months of Summer weather coming our way.
I love the fall and all the things it brings with it. I am grateful for the new school year and the excitement it brings. I am happy that my child will be returning to the classroom and being able to live a somewhat normal school life. And I was super grateful to provide last night. To buy her the things she wanted and needed. She is growing ever taller and I have not done a good job keeping up with her. Mostly what I enjoyed last night was spending time with her doing something that felt normal, familiar and safe. I love my daughter and am so grateful to have the relationship I do with her. And I am excited about getting back to the Fall, the renewal that I feel this time of year. And being able to return to myself as the darkness of Winter beckons. More time to read and write. More time to slow down. More time to embrace all the stuff I learn about myself, others and life in general when I come back to the Fall, again.