Posts Tagged ‘autumn’


Not all gloom

October 7, 2014

My last few posts have been perhaps a bit vent-y and full of whinging. I’m not going to apologize because sometimes a person needs to vent and whinge and this is my space to write about the things I seldom discuss with anyone in real life, but my life is hardly all gray drizzle and sorrows.

So this is a sort of “count your blessings” post even though I am ambivalent about the “count your blessings” type of memes that are currently tumbling around online. I’m not adverse to counting blessings, but always included in this activity seems to be the idea that we should be grateful because others have it worse. This, I’m not comfortable with. Yes, we take many things for granted and witnessing the misfortune of someone else can make us grateful for things we probably should have been grateful for all along, but the purpose of misfortune (if there is one – I’ll leave that to you) isn’t to spur gratitude in others. It might be a silver lining of misfortune, I guess, but that’s as far as I’ll budge. And sometimes it seems like the compare and contrast method of gratitude borders on the exploitative. So, while I’m grateful for my blessings, there are more blessings I’d like. And I’d like it if everyone had access to a nice, reliable base-line of blessings that included general good health, access to food, and assurance of personal safety.

I’m using the word “blessings” a lot even though it’s a problematic word and one that always stirs up all kinds of doubts and questions in my mind. I think that’s because it’s gloriously autumn here and this is the time of year when I feel most connected to the world and as though I am actually being blessed by something huge and benevolent. I’m grateful for autumn, then, for a start. For me September and October are full of beauty and release and relief, and the smell of leaves and the bite in the air make me feel like all will be well. Maybe this only works if you enjoy winter, too?

I’ve been walking to work two days a week for the past six weeks, and it’s so very good for me. I get more done and feel better about what I do. Also, endorphins. Also, it’s propelled me into a health kick that includes giving up my beloved Diet Coke and my regular dates with Ben & Jerry. This may not sound particularly indulgent, but having time – even for walks, and mental space to focus on myself – even for semi-tyrannical dietary changes, feels indulgent.

The hot water tap in the bathroom now works really well, and I’m so grateful to my dad for spending half a day replacing our faucet. I’m grateful that I have parents who drive out to visit and fix things and cook and connect with Dot and who love me unconditionally. I thought that loving unconditionally was just what parents did, but I’ve met some who don’t, or who can’t, and (here I am comparing again) it’s made me realize that my parents are quietly but undeniably amazing.

I am glad that I can make my daughter giggle and that there are still times she likes to cuddle.

I’m glad that I can make my way through a play date for Dot. I am still searching for good friends where I am, but I can carry on a reasonably friendly conversation for at least long enough for Dot to get some play time in with other kids, and for me that’s not nothing. We are having two families we’re thinking of cultivating as friends (sheesh, that sounds calculating!) over for pumpkin carving soon, and I’m hoping at least some of my visions of familial bonding and mulled cider and fun will be realized. It’s hard to go wrong with jack o’ lanterns, after all.

Here’s to a mostly happy October for everyone.




Watermelon Welcome

October 3, 2014

Dot’s school had a “watermelon welcome” event for the kids and their families. N was working, but I was there, of course, and she had a great time showing me her many tricks on the climbers and slides while playing with her friends. There were lots of kids there, lots of kids with siblings. Lots of baby brothers and baby sisters. Do you see where this is going?

And I hid behind a tree because now I miss Teddy, who should have been there, teasing his little sister. And I miss the baby who will never be because I’m responsible and reasonably unselfish when it comes to making decisions for my family. I want that baby, whoever he or she might be. And I started crying at the damned watermelon table but didn’t want Dot (or anyone else) to see me.

Someone told me that I should just go ahead and try for another, that money stuff always works itself out. This, from my perspective, is a fairly privileged viewpoint. Of course you work it out and do what you have to do for a baby once that baby exists. Once that baby exists, their existence becomes a priority that other things – your career, your family’s movement toward financial stability, your lack of bankruptcy, your oldest (living) child’s chances of going to college – can be sacrificed to support. But our income is too high to qualify for any sort of assistance, and our debt is too high to allow for much savings or “discretionary income.” We wouldn’t be giving up trips to Hawaii or Friday nights at the steakhouse or gifts of fine jewelry. We already go meatless on more than Mondays, and we drive a small compact (to be paid off this coming summer!). So we’d be giving up Dot’s college fund, my credit rating, possibly my job and income, possibly N’s chances of finishing & defending his diss, possibly (because of stress and money and time) our marriage. It would work out, but the way it worked out would likely hurt people I love and for whom I’m responsible. So the person who told me that can…bite my budget spreadsheet.

I’ve tried not being bitter about this, but I am. I’ll get over it. It’s something I can get over, I think, not like losing Teddy. But it hurts, and I’m fed up with things that hurt. I want a cookie, and a warm cup of tea, and three wishes.


September, and thank heavens

September 10, 2012

The weather has cooled, the leaves are just starting to show a edges of red and orange, glowing flecks of yellow. The sunlight feels clear and clean – distilled into it’s most unsullied form. Tonight it may storm. Tonight it may freeze.

The wind blows carelessly-held papers, willy-nilly, across the campus mall, over the green lawns, and then into the oblivion of trees and bushes. Whoosh!

And I remember how I love the wind, it’s blustery kisses and wild mischief and the way it finds every weak spot in your roof or coat, the way it sings across prairies and jumps out at you around buildings.

We are holding on. Some days are hard, but N and I grip each others’ hands and even though he keeps on insisting that he owes me some sort of apology for not being Fitzwilliam Darcy, and even though I never know how to respond to those apologies – part of me really would like to run away to Netherfield but as much as I appreciate Darcy as a literary character, I’ve never set out to find him in real life or seen him as a realistic model for a man – we do all right. (Of course we do all right, says the undaunted and certain part of my brain; we both love Jane Austen, Seamus Heaney, and National League Baseball – that’s a few lifetime’s worth of conversations right there. And as any reader of Austen knows, you can tell when a couple is suited because they have good conversations.)

We had a weekend of long walks and adventures with Dot, who seems to grow brighter and funnier and more stubborn and louder and more amazing and loving and exasperating and miraculous with every day. She had her first swim lesson of the school year, and I was so proud of her for waiting her turn and listening to her teacher and for trying new things. I’m so proud of N for summoning up the strength to be such an amazing Dad even though he carries the weight of worlds on his shoulders right now. My heart bursts with love.

My most recent article was accepted with only minor revisions, and I’m currently working on two others with colleagues. I create websites and plan events and review books, and work at the reference desk, and answer questions online and write and wish I had more time to read. I am busy, and sometimes that is stressful – especially at the end of a full work day when I realize I forgot to plan dinner – but sometimes it feels really, really good.

It’s a sweet, hard, melancholy, lovely, world. This September world. I feel whispers of Teddy returning to my ears and the void of missing him doesn’t have the vacuum-like horror it held last month. He was here, and beautiful, and loved. The trees know his name and my valiant rosebush that has survived a summer of negligent watering in an undersized pot, knows it too. Teddy, my Teddy. Little Huckleberry.

I’ve taken down my previous post. It was important to share it, but now I need to hide it away for a while. I’m so grateful to all of you who commented and commiserated and offered the support of your thoughts and words.

The burdens aren’t all lifted, and I’d never expect that they would be, but it’s such a relief to exhale again.




October 12, 2009

The cold hit my neck of the woods so quickly that many of the autumn leaves froze, green.  And so they will fall, crunchy and green, their autumn glories given up until some other year.  The autumn coloring that we do have seems dull and dusty, inhibited by the sudden cold snap.

If I could I’d ask the winter chill if it was supposed to be here last autumn, if there was some mix up in the weather delivery.  After all, I was so damned sad last autumn and the season persisted in being cruelly gorgeous with sunset-colored leaves and mild but crisp autumn days.  This year the trees seem sad.  Maybe the trees and I should have been this sad together?

We walked, through crunchy green leaves, down to the hardware store yesterday to get a new drain for the sink.  On the way back the wind blew in our faces until my nose dripped and N’s ears ached with cold.

If Teddy were here, he’d need a good winter coat, and mittens, and hats.  But we’d run through the sad, faded, fallen leaves and laugh at the crunches his small feet made.  We’d be thinking of happy mundane things like Halloween costumes and whether or not we’d let him have any candy, about play dates and trips to the park and whether or not we’d get photos taken for Christmas cards.

I’m not as sad as I was last year, but there are days like today where I just miss and miss and miss him until the trees start to look sympathetic and my brain just wants to give up.

I miss you, baby boy.  I love you.  I don’t know where you are, but I hope you know that.


Cruel, kind September

September 9, 2008

It’s a perfect early autumn day. Another perfect early autumn day, in fact. I can’t help but remember how I loved September so, last year. It’s usually my favorite month, the month of my wedding anniversary, the month of clear blue skies and the first fall leaves, the month of harvest’s culmination and of the anticipation of winter (I like snow).

And here’s the wonderful, painful thing. September is being spectacularly beautiful and kind just now; the weather is exactly what I imagined when I was hopeful and naive enough to imagine bringing a baby home. I imagined these very blue skies, this clarity of sunlight, this gentle crispness in the air when I looked forward to those precious early days when I would be able to stay home and marvel at Teddy all day. There are birds at my bird feeders, the moon is waxing pale and lovely, and the other night there was the first hint of woodsmoke in the air. In so many ways it’s just as I’d hoped, this September.

With the sorry exception that while I’m home all day now and for a little while longer, instead of nursing a new baby, I’m nursing the loss of one.