September 30, 2020
My sweet boy,
Fall has arrived. It surprises me every year how the first, tiny hints of yellow leaves in late August turn into a splendor of yellow in just a few short weeks. How the mornings go from warm, doors-wide-open and coffee outside on the deck to cool, brisk mornings, cozy sweaters and coffee in front of the fireplace. Aahhh… but I do love this transition. And so, this week I traded my shorts and sleeveless tops for cozy sweaters and warm socks all the while knowing that you’re still wearing shorts up there.
I am sitting this early, fall morning in front of the fireplace with a big cup of coffee, our big brown dog at my feet reminiscing over memories of you and your brothers and how you guys would hold onto summer for as long as you could. Succumbing to fall didn’t happen until it snowed, it seemed. I smile remembering how as September waned and the mornings turned cool you and your brothers would defy wearing pants – always deferring to shorts. Some of those mornings were darn cold. Most days the grass would be white with frost as you’d bolt out the front door to catch the school bus. Hoodies were the thing, of course, and at least you guys would put those on. I remember watching from the front window as you waited for the bus; your skinny, spindly legs shaking, your hands tucked in the front pocket of your hoodie, shoulders up to your ears, looking like a turtle with your overstuffed backpack slung on your back. I remember suggesting many a morning that wearing pants might be a good option, but not until water puddles turned to ice and stayed frozen would you and your brothers succumb to that mom tip (and for what its worth, a natural consequence was always a better convincing tool in the ‘ole parenting handbook ). Packing away those summer shorts was a sad day in our house. Stretching out summer for as long as possible was the norm and looking back on my own childhood it was the very same.
When you’d return home from school your backpack was even more stuffed because the hoodie that kept you from freezing in the morning was now sort of, somewhat, portions of it anyway, tucked into your backpack. I recall the thunk of your backpack hitting the floor at the front door because of the weight of all it held… a textbook or two, your agenda, your lunchbox, a gym strip (if you hadn’t forgot it), your pencil box and homework (if you hadn’t forgot it), your iPod and some miscellaneous odds and ends… remember the yo-yo stage and the coveted binder of Pokémon cards and hockey cards? I smile recalling how you’d barely set foot inside the door to shed your pack and yell, “Mom, I’m home!” only to turn around and run back out the door because playing outside was the best part of your day. Gosh, I loved that so much.
And, then there were all the pockets full of rocks. I remember, (most times with an eye roll) how I’d routinely check all your pockets before I put a load of laundry into the washing machine. There is something unnerving about hearing rocks roll around in the washer… and there were many that went undetected… which is why I had to check your pockets. A pocket full of rocks seemed to be a regular occurrence in our family… your brothers, too, loved rocks and it is no secret that I love them too. I frequently return with a rock or two and sometimes a pocket full (I take back all the eye roll). I guess the apples didn’t fall far from the proverbial tree.
I think loving the fall season in all it’s splendor might be something one acquires a love for as one gets older. It is certainly true for me. Saying goodbye to summer seems a bit easier now as the furnace kicks in. So, hello fall, I’m ready for you. Cozy sweater and all. In a bit, I’ll head out for a walk with Finn and undoubtedly I’ll return with a rock or two or a pocket full. I’m pretty sure, Willy, that you’ll help me find the best ones.
I love you, sweet one. More than a bus and more than a cozy sweater for me, shorts for you and a pocket full of rocks for us.