I’m a summer girl. The frogs and birds in the wetlands out my window sing me to sleep. Easy breezy flip flops, sun up in the 5 o’clock hour gives way to my favorite road biking rides before my household wakes up. My husband and I enjoy date nights strolling by the river walk downtown. I adore outdoor concerts and the sounds and smells of Lake Michigan.
Yet so many claim fall as their favorite and look forward to the cooler temps and the change in season. I always long to hang on to Summer. Why?
Fall colors are stunningly beautiful around here. Memories of apple and pumpkin picking field trips and hayrides with my kids hold wonderful memories. Halloween festivities and the search for that perfect costume were always a childhood delight for me. And the big event that so many Moms look forward to for the return to routine and a break from siblings getting on each other’s nerves: school starts.
School always pronounced the passage of time and put an exclamation point on it for me. Whether it be a favorite teacher I would no longer have, the cast party capping off an amazing drama production or the incredible sports season coming to an end. School years were season after season of concentrated, elevated emotion. And I find even as an adult that a little bit of melancholy sets in as autumn approaches. Kind of like a strange knee jerk reaction. Change is coming. The falling temps and the fleeting beauty of the colorful leaves show me a preview.
Last weekend before the sun rose in the 4 o’clock hour, my oldest and I set off for a road trip adventure. I hadn’t stepped foot on the campus of my alma mater in over 20 years. I thought it would be a great way to share a bit with him about my university experience, take an official tour, soak up some of the campus life and enjoy a short walk down memory lane. It was a trip I had been wanting to make for a couple years. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect since he is a high school senior and we are exploring his post-graduation options.
In his eyes he was along for an interesting ride. He has had plans of serving in the military since he was young. And he is still exploring those details and gathering more information. However, he was game for my plan and was a good sport about it. And when was the last time he and I had a weekend just the two of us?! Ummm…Unheard of.
What ensued could not have been crafted more perfectly if I scripted it. We met up with one of my former college roommates who I hadn’t seen in forever and hung out at her house catching up with her and meeting her husband. Together with my friend and her husband, we all visited one of our old college Friday night hang-outs and enjoyed a meal with her daughter who now attends the university.
Bright and early Saturday morning my son and I took an official campus tour with an admissions official, visited my Freshman residence hall, walked a significant amount of the campus and ate lunch in a residence hall restaurant.
He was enamored with it all. And I remembered once again why I loved it too. And ironically, the campus never shines so bright as in the fall. That’s how I remember it most – with all the old brick buildings and the amazing old trees and yes, a little of the melancholy of transition and change mixed in.
I don’t know what this next season of motherhood holds. But the excitement I felt watching my son’s eyes light up and see his wheels turning inside his head was so gratifying. The sun is setting on a huge chapter in what I have known as a mother. I am savoring each night all of my children are safely under our roof and every meal we can all look each other in the eyes.
I don’t know what, but I do know next fall at this time something will be very different. And with the spectacular autumn sunsets and the changing leaves we will work our way through the next transition.
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