Fall is my favorite time of year. The crisp, clear weather, the changing leaves, cooler temperatures, casseroles and stews and winter squash. I don’t think I’d fare well in a world without seasons.
We’ve made the most of the glorious weather (when it’s not raining) by playing and hiking and exploring the great outdoors as much as possible. On days where we have the time and energy, we venture to Red Top Mountain State Park or other local hiking trails.
On days where I’m chugging coffee to stay awake after multiple nights of multiple babies waking up multiple times, we simply head to a park nearby. The kids swing their hearts out (Scarlett’s favorite activity), the Rowdy boys slide so much it stains their pants, James Michael makes a handful of new friends at every outing and Beau stays within 10 feet of me at all times as he proves his physical prowess on the playground.
Scarlett’s big personality has emerged from her tiny little self, and she’s perfected the art of getting what she wants at such a young age. I was worried that the Rowdy boys might trample all over their baby sister, but as her personality continues to emerge, it’s quite clear this tiny diva may be the one calling the shots for them all. She has clawed their faces and yanked their hair and arched her back in pre-tantrum defiance more times than I can count. Thankfully, they remain tender toward her, saving any pent-up aggression for each other.
And as much as I absolutely adore fall, it also means the start of sickness season for anyone with little ones. Lately, the days have been long and hard as I’m juggling caring for these babies, quarantining the sick, visiting the pediatrician multiple times each month, doling out medicine, conquering the fever of one child only to have another one feverish the following day, doling out breathing treatments, rocking and comforting and wishing I could clone myself.
In the past two weeks, two of my kids had overnight hospital stays exactly one week apart. One trip was unforeseen, and the other was foreseen but surgery was bumped up a month at the last minute. Thankfully, God gave me a peace each time and I’m so grateful for the family and friends who rallied to help out at the last minute.
But I’m praying that sickness has left us and for the first time in three years, we can enjoy the holiday season in good health. I’ve completed 90% of my Christmas shopping (thanks to Amazon), so I’m hoping we can celebrate the holiday season slowly and avoid the hustle and bustle. I long to help my kids see that the excitement of the season comes from a very special birthday and not a smorgasbord of reindeer-wrapped gifts.
As I’ve been drawn to minimalism lately, I love the (social media-circulating) idea of getting the kids just four gifts for Christmas: something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. So far, I’ve stuck to this plan but am adding in a couple of small items for their stockings (which are actually a need).
The past month has been hard for our little family, but as we are coming out on the other side (on the mend) it’s not taking long for us to thrive again. It’s amazing how resilient kids are. Hospitalizations and sickness are behind us (for now) and the kids play and (Rowdy boys) fight as if nothing has changed. For that, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that they won’t have to remember these hard spells, but at the same time, I’m grateful that I will remember because I have learned so so much about faith and family and friends.
Life gets harder as I age, because the bubble I grew up in has popped and the hurt and pain and injustice of humanity is much more evident. But now that I’m older and it’s easier to see the bad in life, it’s also easier to recognize the good. And for that I am thankful. There is so much good left to be seen and left to be done in this life.