I have to get this down before the feeling leaves me, because I know I’m going to want to recall it later. Fall has arrived. Overnight, the air turned chilly. The change in the light snuck up on me.
Fall is here, and against all odds, I am glad. It has always been a very special season for me, and the one fall that we got to have with Hudson was just magical (September 2009, October 2009, November 2009). Fall has always made me nostalgic, but last year, I was heartbroken as I faced the changing leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and preparations for Christmas without my little girl, who would have loved all those things so much.
This year, the wistfulness has not disappeared, but it has changed. The melancholy is not gone, but it is accompanied now by sweet anticipation of the joy this season will bring again with Jackson. I greeted this morning’s chill with gratitude, because it meant I could dress Jackson in long sleeves and pants and face him forward in the stroller without worrying about him getting sunburned. And we took a long, long walk in the brisk air, one he never would have tolerated in the car seat facing me. His big sister’s socks were keeping his feet warm.
And then it hit me. Hopefully, we’ll be lucky, and we’ll have many, many falls ahead of us where we pack up our summer clothes and break out our warm clothes, where we’ll jump around in the leaves together, where we’ll plan our Halloween costumes together, and make homemade applesauce and pies for Thanksgiving, and bake cookies for Christmas. There is so much joy still ahead.
We can never have Hudson back, but she will always be with us. We will always miss her, especially in the fall, but she will always be with us. We’ll make turtle jack-o-lanterns and turtle cookies, and we’ll look at pictures of her in the pumpkin patch and dressed like a monkey and stuffing her face with Thanksgiving turkey. We’ll remember her and we’ll smile. We’ll probably cry some, too. At least I will. But we will smile.
I was so relieved to realize that fall had arrived and instead of despair, I felt gladness in my heart. Sadness, too. Always sadness. But with every breath I take of this cool air, I’m so grateful for the gladness. For today, at least, it is enough.