Why I Will Face the Fall

There’s something about the fall that makes me feel relieved and bummed out at the same time.

Even though my kids are adults now, I still feel the relief seep into my soul when I see my first school bus of the season.

I remember watching the back of that school bus as it transported my children to a place where I didn’t have to find things for them to do or act like I enjoyed their sweaty friends sitting on my leather couch and spilling ketchup on my carpet and asking for a snack as I tried to run my consulting business in an upstairs office.

I still smile when I see mothers and fathers skip home from the school bus stop. I want to drive by them, stick my fist in the air and yell, “WOOOHOOO!!” in their honor.

Yet with the celebration of the return of structure, there’s also something within me that falls like the leaves . . .

My emotions develop a new vibrancy as I consider the brisk fall nights, the return of football, and the joy of coming holidays. Even so, I know that Fall can turn my vibrant joy into dry, sad emotions that will eventually drop, leaving me feeling bare and vulnerable.

Perhaps my losses are holding the potential joy of Autumn hostage. I have read that our mind attaches an emotion to every thought, so even if we don’t “remember” an event, our bodies do.

When November  rolls around, my mom and I get irritated with each other on our morning calls and begin to bicker. Then we remember that my dad, who’s been gone for over twenty years, had a birthday in November, called me to say goodbye in November, and died in November.

He left this earth a couple of days after Thanksgiving, which makes me just abhor turkeys in general. . .

The sight of a cooked turkey can really throw me off my game. I find myself furious with innocent sweet potatoes topped with toasted marshmallows. I want to chuck the Pepperidge Farm dressing across the room.

The mashed potatoes I’m okay with.

Two days after Thanksgiving, I had to say goodbye to a man who was my hero. He was big, and strong, and served God daily. Boy, did he love Thanksgiving. And turkeys. And sweet potatoes topped with toasted marshmallows.

On that very special day when dad rarely had a church crises and could watch lots of football, he was happy. When the amazing smells from the kitchen were accompanied with the sweet phrase “Time to eat!”, dad would approach the dining room table with a smile on his face and a large towel over his shoulder. This was a habit that drove mom insane – he would buy kitchen towels and use them as napkins.

He thought it saved us money.

Just when I decide this season is accurately named, I walk out of the house to a crisp fall day of 85 degrees 🙂 . . .

And I feel a sense of renewal and strength.

The sounds of football coming from the high school behind my house are exciting.

The heavy sweaters which will allow me to cover up my football-watching fat are waiting in the cedar chest like the wardrobe BFF’s that they are.

Days of eating my husband’s homemade beef stew are close, and time spent laughing with my kids during the holidays waits in the wings.

Fall might just make the good things seem even better . . .

Autumn is like that tough teacher who challenges me with difficult assignments but, ultimately, makes me stronger.

It pushes me to feel emotions that I repress the rest of the year.

Fall is a time of cleansing and preparing for renewal.

Instead of resenting Autumn, I will stand bare and spread my arms like the tree to take it all in. This is, of course, metaphorical. . . I would not do that to my neighbors.

Let the emotions fall where they may. I will let them happen and let them go.

And I will be kinder to the turkey.