I can't really put my feather on it, but I think this time of the year is one of the toughest for parents. I love sweater weather, warm blankets and the smell of something cinnamon baking in the oven. Cozy food with rich flavors are so in right now. And by the way, can we all just agree that the beloved Carmel Apple should not only be a FALL treat? Who's in charge of this?
The cooler weather entices me to go outdoors and I cherish going for walks after dinner and hearing the crunch sound my daughter's feet make when she deliberately steps on the fallen dry leaves. I think the crispness in the air breathes new life into ideas and being aware of the approaching year's end quickens your pace to finish what you started ten months ago. That's right. Ten months have zipped right by us like the Road Runner and it makes you question what's even real in time and space anymore.
But here's where we are mamas....the school year is full on report card mode with actual grades. We're not dealing with the breezy summer reading - we have the hard press of fundraisers, parent-teacher conferences and after school practices for just about ev'rythang. We're in what I call the squeeze. The time between school starting and the year ending. The holidays are approaching and December 31st is only a few sleeps away. SEUURRiously. Have you looked at a calendar? People: 2016 is basically steamrolling us.
I think the beginning of October becomes the marker for that last sprint to get this year right. We can't allow the rest of the year to blitz past us like a wide receiver. I don't know about you, but I've just come off a lazy summer eating too many nachos, searching for a shade tree like my life depended on it and standing in front of an open refrigerator door just a few minutes longer than necessary. (Meal planning, like 'ya do.)
No matter the age of our children, October is our transition month. If you have elementary school children - you are looking toward Fall Festivals, Trunk or Treat nights and guiding your kid's decision in choosing the perfect dress up costume. This one. No this one. Definitely this one. Older kids are looking forward to football games and Homecoming dances. Let me explain this new territory I'm in right now. My boy: who *IN MY MIND* is still four years old and sleeping with stuffed animals asked a girl to Homecoming. And get this - you can't just *ask* a girl to homecoming - it has to be a presentation something more clever than the words "Will you go with me to the homecoming dance?" Isn't it a rite of passage to have awkward questions stuttering out of his lips? Nope - It has to be a production with a song - a dance - a poster board or some other tom foolery. So obviously I'm gonna' need extra hugs from my boy child who sort of resembles a young man. I'll commence smoothing his hair, telling him how handsome and clever he is, squeezing more hugs out of him than he wants and basically rubbing my mom scent on him....because that's how I'm gonna' to Deal. Wit. Dis.
A friend of mine is going through a different kid stage in their life and being honest here - I don't want to face it. And I might not. Tell me if you know about this very startling phase in a child's life. It's where the small infant climbs into the driver's seat of the car, barely reaches the pedals and starts up the car with their toy keys. Then - get this - these babies *drive* themselves to and from school. Who can even handle all of that madness? Not me. I'm going to research policies in place in order to change the driving age to a safer number - like 25.
I think parents often want to go back to the earlier years. Where the toughest decisions we faced were which costume would be appropriate, selling Fall Festival Carnival tickets and buying a cake for the cake walk. Awwh, C'mon no judgement. Not ALL of us BAKE our own cakes and why should we when Publix bakery makes 'em pretty darn tasty? Just put the dessert in a different container. Kidding. (Not kidding)
We are excited to see what God has planned for our children's big beautiful lives but we forget to slow down and enjoy their big beautiful childhood. We long for yesterday's memories to bubble up and resurface - all those squishy, yummy children giggles and reminiscing about the nights of tucking in little boys with their favorite stuffed animal in the crook of their arms. When we're daydreaming about their childhood, we miss the moment right now. All of the engaging, brilliant teen-to-adult conversations. Your world view can be a little brighter and fresh when you listen to their insights. And the jokes. Teenage sarcasm is rich with the flavors of teen spirit. Go to the "teenage restaurant." Immerse yourself in the language. Attempt to grasp the slang. Get to know the music of his life. Parents - we have to pay attention because the memories of his first dance are up next. Look alive memory bank - start recording. Hold on mama's heart - you're gonna' make it. We're in for a big ride. We will wait on the sidewalk as he steps up to his first pseudo date. Our infant-toddler-middle schooler-teenager is standing on the edge of adulthood and peering over the next mountain he's going to climb.
Transition is hard. Navigating change has its struggles. Take a moment and feel what I am writing. Pay attention *right now* because the re-entry into the time you lost is bumpy and filled with sorrow. While you were busy reminiscing about those adorable sticky fingers or splashing in the waves for the first time, another chunk of his life slipped by. But, there's hope. I caught my memory today - by writing it down and snapping a picture. The girl my son asked to the Homecoming Dance said yes. This was our celebratory donut in honor of his bravery and courage. A moment, I will never forget.