Thursday, September 24, 2015

Warm, fuzzy sweater on a cool fall night.

"Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits."
-Samuel Butler

In the midst of our busy September--between school and church responsibilities and hunting seasons and baby showers and family get togethers, and before this baby decides to officially join this family--we squeezed in our annual apple orchard trip. This is the highlight of the fall for me, one of my favorite family traditions.

The day was warm, reminiscent of the past summer days, but with a hint of the fall crispness in the air. The perfect weather for apple picking.

As we followed after our boys as they flitted from one activity to the next, I was rooted in the past--chubby cheeks poking out of stocking hats while bouncing along on the hayride, tiny fists gripping apples, crawling toddlers up the haystack--while towing the line between present and future. This year there were two boys; next year there will be two boys and a girl. This year we followed at a casual distance as our sons navigated the crowds and lines and social rules; next year we will divide and conquer, all eyes and hands on deck, completely outnumbered in the parent to kid ratio. This year felt familiar, like a warm, fuzzy sweater on a cool fall night; next year may feel foreign, like an itchy wool sweater on a muggy day.

It's hard not to see each moment without the past, present, future context now that our family is on the cusp of a big change. One week. The calendar says the date that once loomed in the future is now suddenly upon us in a single week. One week to shed the warm, fuzzy sweater and prepare for the itchy wool one.

But that September day where our present family participated in one of our most beloved outings was exactly what we needed to round out our last days as a party of four. Coming soon: Mahlke, party of five. I'm ready to wear in that wool sweater until its beaten into a warm, fuzzy one that feels oh-so-right on a cool fall night.

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