I have so many wonderful memories of this season. Time with my family, holidays, cool brisk days (well, the one day a year we get “cool” here) road trips to leaf peep, mom’s pumpkin pie, dad putting up the tree…the memories are endless. The smells, emotions, colors, and the sounds of laughter all come back to me in an instant, especially this time of year. As you can see, fall is my favorite time of year and it’s when I feel the most joyous. It took me a while though to get to that joyous place this year.
We had a wonderful and blissfully peaceful summer. No schedules, lazy days, adventures, and fun times with family and friends. Typically summer is a bit harder on me since I do “mommy summer camp”. That doesn’t allow for a lot of breaks. It’s also typically a tough time with our daughter who has difficultly with changes in her routine. Usually school ends, our daily schedule changes, and she has a hard time adjusting. This summer we breezed by with less than a hiccup. She smoothly transitioned into summer and so did I. In the past, I would struggle to be happy, to relax and to just let things go. I could tell this summer was different though. I was letting loose more and enjoying my days with the kids. I let go of everything, including blogging (hence the the 7 month hiatus). It was so freeing! I stopped putting pressure on myself to provide a camp like experience every moment, to accomplish a million things, and to do do do. Instead, I just concentrated on just being and being together. I had conquered summer!
So, it caught be by surprise when we returned from vacation in August (having just had that pure Michigan experience) that I began to experience a lot of anxiety. This is usually how approaching summer feels to me. Fall was my favorite season though. It was all PSLs, mountain visits, and apple picking. It was my joyous season where I didn’t let anxiety live, only now my season was approaching and anxiety was rearing it’s ugly head. I usually fell in love with fall and this time I was wondering if I would be able to enjoy it at all.
I struggled for weeks trying to get to a calm place and let things go. I knew the build up to school starting again was probably a big part of it. Who would my daughter’s teacher be? Would she make friends this year? How would my son adjust to kindergarten? Would he enjoy being in his new class? Would we need to start therapy again for her? How would I manage my business, their school, being a wife and mom, and getting them and myself involved in a few activities? Where would the time for me come in?
It took some time before things settled down and I found a good flow with things. There were a lot of ups and a lot of downs. It felt a bit like the roller coaster of change, anxiety, and fear our daughter faces daily. I noticed that she seemed to transition so much more smoothly into fall this year, much better than I did. She didn’t seem as anxious about her new class and teacher, something I thought sure would be a source of distress for her. I noticed she was excited about school, which wasn’t always the case. I realized she wasn’t afraid to try new things. As a matter of fact, she’d spent the summer traveling around the country, changing hotels sometimes daily. She had tried many different foods and had branched off from Italian to Chinese and Latin (I knew the Puerto Rican in her would eventually come out). She was a bundle of spontaneity, adventure, and change. She was thriving and I was paralyzed in fear. Seeing her face adversity and her struggles head on, motivated me to find my joy again and to do what I needed to make my peace with this new season.
We all know that kids feed off of us and our energy. I was setting the stage for her to take on my fears and I would not let that happen. I’ll spare you all the details of the many things I tried over the course of those weeks to center myself and find my peace again. Let’s just say it was all on the up and up, but it ranged from starting to read my bible more regularly again to regularly coloring like a school kid does. I found lots of ways to ground myself again, adjust to the changes, and yes, I occasionally sought help when I needed it from my tiny little pill or even from my therapist (I’m a firm believer that every person on the planet should have one,the therapist, not the pill). The peace search continues even now. There may have even been a 7 season binge watching of The Gilmore Girls a few weeks ago and my hubby probably thought he needed to stage an intervention. The reality is, I carved out more space for myself and allowed myself the chance to adjust to this new season. I stopped letting change freeze me and I took a page out of my daughter’s book and tried new things. It has been liberating!
Change is hard sometimes, but it can be good. It can open you up to new adventures. You can learn a lot about yourself and others. I learned that when I grow up I want to be like my kid. I may have my struggles, but I’ll take on the journey without fear and I’ll make peace with the seasons of change. As for fall, it’s still my favorite and I will do my best to keep the peace I’ve made with it all year long.