It starts subtly. So subtle it’s sometimes difficult to even notice. Just a tiny bud here, a little, white flower there. Then it grows. Green splashes the trees, and soon they are covered in a beautiful canopy of leaves. They wave proudly throughout the summer, then, as the weather cools, the leaves burst into a beautiful spectacle of color. The grand finale. Reds, oranges, browns, yellows…it’s as if the trees are celebrating another glorious year. Finally, almost overnight, the fireworks are over. The leaves lay still on the ground, waiting for one last breath of life as a child rakes them up to jump in before they disappear under a carpet of snow.
The grand finale. That’s my favorite.
The crisp air, the jackets, the hot cocoa, the pumpkins dotting the otherwise barren fields, the corn mazes, the scarves, the harvest moon, the decorations.
The leaves. The beautiful leaves.
I don’t usually get nostalgic, happy feelings while walking into the grocery store, but last night I did. As I bundled my almost-two-year-old in my jacketed arms to protect him from the crisp air and raced towards the front door, the pumpkins lining the entrance and the mums adding a splash of color took hold of my breath. Fall is here. My heart almost burst with joy. Fall brings me joy because it brings back so many wonderful memories. So many fun traditions from my childhood flooded my mind.
Every year as a kid my parents would host a fall party. The kids would wear their costumes, the parents would stand around chatting and eating chili from the pumpkin we’d hollowed out earlier that day. We’d bob for apples or play in my dad’s box maze, then we’d sit around a bonfire in our back yard telling stories and eating homemade doughnuts with our hot cocoa or apple cider. Sweet memories, vivid in my mind like the leaves in autumn.
I’ve been reading a book by Stephanie Nielson titled Heaven Is Here. Have you heard her story? She is amazing. Her story is incredible, inspiring, and full of hope. In 2008 she and her husband were in a plane crash, which burned 80% of her body. She and her husband were, through countless miracles, able to return to their four young children and she was able to continue her journey as a mother.
She writes a blog: nieniedialogues.blogspot.com
…and here’s a clip about her story: My New Life (I bawled through the entire thing. It’s 8 minutes and SO worth it!)
Much of her book she shares how traditions played a big part in her life, as a child, and later as a mother. We’ve slacked off majorly in the tradition department lately, and I’ve decided this week to work harder at those we have and try to begin some new ones that my children can look back on as fondly as I do those in the falls of my childhood.
One I stole from Stephanie’s blog is to have a “Family Theme.” Throughout the year it becomes the focus. She begins each school year with a fancy dinner where they introduce the family theme. I’m a little late, but I think this weekend we’ll give this new tradition a try.
Just like the tiny buds in the spring, I hope that our family traditions can start out small and simple, then catch on and grow until they become a part of us. I hope that when my children look back on their memories, it will be like the autumn grand finale, full of color and beauty.
Happy fall, everyone!
What are traditions your family has that bring you joy? I’d love to hear them!