This is fall

Some joyful parenting moments are big events, like last week’s trunk or treat, like holidays and milestones and long-planned family vacations, carefully-crafted surprises or days set aside for special adventures.

But most often, I have found, the real joy of parenting is in discovered moments, unplanned and expectation-free. Take today: a gorgeous, early-November afternoon awash in golden light; a rake and a couple of wagons; piles of fallen leaves; and the indulgence of oatmeal cookies and milk, just my boy and me.

This is the fall my childhood self was sure I was missing in Florida.

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The cool breeze fix

Today is the kind of day to make your heart sing, just because the sky is a cloudless blue, the air is clear and a tiny bit crisp, the maples are hinting at color, the deer’s coats are turning a dark gray… I could go on, but you get the picture.  Fall is in the air.

Seasonal allergies try to dampen my enthusiasm, but there’s no dragging me down today. I LOVE fall. I plan in a few moments to dig out the fall wreath and pumpkin welcome mat. We don’t do ghoulish, so we skip Halloween decorating and go for the berries, fall leaves and pumpkins. (The resident spiders at the new house render Halloween decorations superfluous, anyway.) Just writing about fall decorations has me suddenly craving pumpkin bars.

Jon came home from the office this afternoon in time to join us for a little picnic lunch in the back yard, and then I pushed the kids on the tire swing for a while. I think that might just be what heaven’s going to look like: pushing happy kids on a tire swing on a gorgeous, first-taste-of-fall day. I hated to bring them inside for naps.

There were the usual stresses waiting for me indoors, but I threw open all the windows. I’ve discovered it’s harder to worry too much about double mortgages (yes, STILL) with a cool breeze ruffling your hair.

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