I remember when my children were small, a phrase I heard a lot was, “Cherish these moments. They don’t last long,” or something similar. Now, I have heard lots of moms say they resent hearing this. “I’m tired,” they say. “I just can’t hold on to those moments. I have to be a mom.”
I understand frustration with the phrase, but I always listened. Because the moms saying it had been in my place before. They had been in the midst of dirty diapers, lack of sleep, cleaning tossed food from a 10-foot radius around the high chair, appointments, inconsolable crying, potty training, one-year old single-person wrecking crews, wearing shirts smelling of spit-up, agonizing bedtimes, unexplained fevers, worrisome coughs, mysterious rashes and the host of exhausting mothering things.
They’d been there. But they STILL said it. What I heard them saying was, “You matter. Mothering matters. This time in your life is important. You are doing good work. These children might change the world someday. Don’t forget all the positive things. The snuggles. The moment you hear them call out ‘Mama’ the first time. Baby giggles. Tiny hands reaching for you. The trust and love that lets them fall asleep in your arms because that’s the best place to be. There will come a moment when they don’t want you to kiss them. There will be a last time they sit in your lap, a last time you pick them up, the last time you sing a lullaby as they drift to sleep. Remember those things and hold them close. They are what is important.”
My children are older now. I have two middle-school age boys. They think girls have cooties, kisses are disgusting, romance movies are SO embarrassing, and even saying “I love you” is questionable. I have equal parts amusement and pangs of “please don’t grow up, I can’t handle it.” Our house is filled with LEGO, Minecraft, approximately 5,000 pieces of Star Wars-themed origami, and falling apart Calvin and Hobbes books. It’s sometimes annoying to clear away paper Yodas from the counter and Lego mini-figures hiding behind cereal bowls, but I smile, too. This stage won’t last long. And I will miss it when it’s gone.
Remember when libraries were full of old books alongside the new ones? And older ones had been read so often that they started to fall apart so they were rebound? I miss those days. As a person who loves books, I don’t only like reading them (although that is admittedly the best part about them), I like picking them up, smelling them (ok, so I’m a little weird), and thinking about their history. Who read it before me? Did they love it? How many times did some other person check out this same book because it was her favorite? That’s also why I love old pockets with cards that had a due date stamp on them. I like to look over the old due dates and see when the book was circulating.
Today when I walk into a library, there are lots of shiny new books. I notice this mostly in the juvenile fiction section. If books published long ago are there, they are a new edition. Do kids these days not pick up books unless they are new? As a kid, and really, still today, I would pick out books based on age and how worn they were. Also the cover. I love covers and dust jackets. A worn book just seemed like it might be interesting because of how many others had read it.
My collection of books at home includes lot of library discards. There are so many out there. And I must rescue them.
My favorite season is spring, but there is something special about fall. I love how I can start pulling out sweaters and leggings no longer make my legs feel like puddles of sweat under plastic cling wrap. (I live in skirts in the summer. Easy, breezy, beautiful.) I only own one really good pair of leggings (Spanx jeggings, sans pockets) and another two pair that are fleece-lined and have a habit of gradually creeping down, thus needing inelegant tugs to keep them up during the day.
I’ve heard tell of these fancy-pants leggings from LulaRoe that one of my friends described as made of unicorn hair on Facebook, but I haven’t tried them yet. The truth is, I only just picked up the legging habit again after a several-years long hiatus. The last time I wore them regularly was in the mid-nineties when I donned them with Fair Isle sweaters over long button-down oxford shirts and topped off my feet with ragg socks and felted wool clogs. Before that time period, my leggings may or may not have had stirrups on them. It’s kind of hazy.
Beyond pulling out cozy clothes from the closet, fall brings apples. I love apples. Sliced with peanut butter, baked into pies and crisps, pressed into cider (hot or cold), cooked into sauce; I just love them. There is an apple orchard here in Ohio that has apple slushies available. So yummy (I also love the fresh peach ones. So. Good.)
Since I’ve been eating mostly gluten-free for the past year, I was a little dubious about being able to make a good apple crisp without wheat, but I managed to do it the other night, after some (delicious but certainly not “crisp”) fails. I had purchased some arrowroot flour and had been nervous to try it, but I think it helped to give the crunch I was looking for.
What are some of your favorite things about fall? Do you have a shady legging-wearing history?