I hear you people up north, you in your multiple layers of coziness sipping your gourd flavored hot beverage and stomping through the crunchy beauty of a fallen leaf or two, I hear you scoffing. Farewell to summer, you say? Why, we did that months ago, you say. We have already burned halfway through our Flannel scented candle and are all ready to move on to Manly Pine. Well, you had your fun and now it is our turn to crank up the Fallification. The temperatures have fallen and the scarfs and boots are coming out, I don’t care if it will be 80 by noon. The windows are open, the tea kettle is whistling, the pumpkin cans are stacked deep, the candles are lit, and the bright colored leaves (REAL NOT FAKE!) are hanging on our mantle (Thank you, Ohio family!). It is Fall. We are doing this.
I just love that quote. Fall remains my favorite season, for many of the reasons mentioned above. But as I hung this quote on the chalkboard over my mantle, I realized something. Down here, it is not the last smile, it is but the first. It is that first time we can step outside, breath deep, and almost smell the chilliness. And we are smiling, not because we get one last chance to enjoy nature’s beauty, but because nature’s beauty is only just beginning. There are at least six more months left of some of the most beautiful weather, the kind of weather where we push bedtimes to stay longer at the park, where we dust off our grills and pump up our bike tires. Where we start to remember what it is like to hear the sounds of nature and not the purr of an air conditioner. We are smiling.
But first, it is only right, that we say a fond farewell to summer. Because it was a lovely summer.
I had the great pleasure of spending a whole five weeks this summer in the Midwest visiting family and friends. A majority of that time, I spent at my parent’s house in Wisconsin. I grew up in Kansas and my parents moved to their current home in a small town north of Milwaukee 15 years ago. Wisconsin has not always felt like home. It was where my parents lived, where my siblings graduated from high school and college. But my memories felt loose, like they needed roots. Where did I find those roots? I would like to say it was choosing to get married in that small town. Obviously, I have great memories of that day, and I am forever thankful we chose such a lovely place to celebrate our wedding. But the feeling of “home” did not take root until this summer when I saw it through my children. Caroline got out of the car when we pulled up and immediately ran down to “check” on grandpa’s raspberry garden, which meant eating her way through the bushes. She wondered outside each morning, in her pjs, or nothing at all, to swing on the tire swing on the big tree out front, the same tree my sister was married under. I fed Elliott his first bites of food on the patio while my dad grilled dinner and the sun began to set behind us. Elliott rolled around on a blanket grabbing his chubby toes while I hung up clean diapers on the clothesline. I may not have the childhood memories of this place my parents call home, but my children will. They will remember this summer and every year after (or at least they will “remember” through pictures.) This home will be special to them. It will forever bring memories of grandparents and cousins and no rules. It will mean happiness. And suddenly, because of that, this home is special to me. Suddenly, I have roots. I shared mostly all of these pictures on A Tale of Two Mamas today. I am grateful for this summer and the ability to see happiness through my children. And I am grateful to finally feel at home. There was such much simple beauty to our day to day. It was like the best of home. I was taken care of by my parents as if I was a child under there roof once again. And because of that, I was free to just BE with my children. I played with them without the burden of dishes piling in the sink, thinking about what was needed to prep for dinner, or worrying about that window with all the streaky finger prints that bugged me so much. Thank you mom and dad for taking care of me, for welcoming me home, and for making it a place my children will always grow to love and remember. Check out pictures of our time at home along with other Midwest adventures on A Tale of Two Mamas.