Softly, beautifully, it came streaming through my window. Signaling the much anticipated event of the year - autumn solstice. Fall's arrival.
See what I mean? Wouldn't you wait for this every year too?
This week brought surprises - the kind of surprises you never see coming, which are of course the very best kind. October is bringing relief for my schedule, more time home with my family, less time working. Answers to prayers.
In celebration of the light, the surprises, and autumn's official arrival this coming Sunday, I'm ushering it all in. The fall foliage, the warm colors, the pumpkin pie. It's happening.
In South Texas, September usually comes with muggy, humid, weather. The air is thick and tangible and it always precedes one last season of unfairly hot weather before the first front breaks through and makes it all the way down to our side of the equator.
But aside from the predictably sticky weather, September is a time of reminiscing for me. It takes me back to the beginnings of Todd and I, our love story and romance and how it all unfolded so surprisingly for us both. I love looking back on the life we've shared together and seeing this beautiful dance we've danced together for the last eight years now. One in which I invite him out on to the main floor and out from the corner he was sitting in. And he invites me to sit one out, to join him in the back.
Eight years, three trucks and two boys later, it feels bittersweet almost to reflect on those beginnings. It's when you meet and fall in love and can't bear to be apart when all of this magic happens. And it's not that the magic is lost really, but over time you become so used to the magic there, it takes something extraordinary to remind you of what you have together. It can be easy to forget when there are bills and baths to give and a million other things tugging at us every moment of the day.
I've learned that with love and marriage, it's like that though. There are seasons of bliss, of intense closeness, of just feeling ridiculously happy together. And there are others where you feel a hole, a distance, often times caused by frustrations - the same frustrations, the same issues you're always talking about.
Regardless of the holes that need filling, or the moments we feel ridiculously happy that we still have one another to wake up to every day, I'm grateful for September.
I'm grateful for the memories of our beginning. How we got swept up in one another, in love, in autumn. How wonderful it was to be kissed and hold hands and feel love wrapped around me and seen in the face of this kind, handsome, gentle man. I love how this time of year always makes us remember.
Our life-dance forever changed by one quiet September night.
When my dear friend Sarah announced that she was expecting baby number three, I hoped with all of my heart she would have a girl. Seeing as we both had two boys, I was aching to see some pink and girlyness around - not to mention, FINALLY getting to throw a baby girl shower.
So, when the sonogram revealed the precious pink news, I immediately got to planning to the girly shower of the year.
Of course I drew the majority of my inspiration from Pinterest. And though pink may be a bit cliche when having a girl, it also felt like the perfect choice for a dainty and feminine shower.
The details are the most fun part of planning any party. Down to the pink and white striped paper straws that we drove all over town to find.
Baby's breath, pearls and twine gave everything both soft and rustic touches.
We had a baby brunch so the menu planning was easy and delicious.
When we had the shower date set, I called up her sister in Kansas to see if she could make it in for the weekend as a big surprise and was so excited when I found out she was going to be able to make it work. Needless to say, it was a tearful and joyful surprise!
And to boot, they were even matching!
I'm not big on baby shower games - I despise them actually. However, I came up with a silly name game since Sarah and her husband are a bit notorious for taking their time on choosing baby names. Her little girl is still nameless, though we believe this time they're being sneaky and keeping us in suspense. Either way, we decided we would help her decide on a name by making some suggestions.
I had everyone write their favorite candy/treat on one piece of paper and their first pet's name on another. We combined them together and we came up with the perfect choice: Baby Ruth Hadiya (prounounced Hah-de-uh). It was a silly game, though we did end up referring to her as Baby Ruth for the remainder of the party!
The sweet girly gifts abounded - which is the best part!
Precious sleepers and dresses and tutus and ruffly things - for a mama like Sarah with two boys, all of the frilly clothes are quite a change!
It was a sweet shower for the sweetest friend.
By this time next month, we should all get to meet sweet Baby Ruth!
For two weeks now, every evening I have driven home from work I have found myself waiting for this moment. The one that comes every September where the sun makes it's lovely autumn solstice tilt, and even though the temperatures point to summer, the orange, inviting glow indicates that the seasons are changing....finally.
It shines differently, softer - and there hasn't been a time, especially since we've lived in our home, that I haven't noticed that change.
The September sun and how it lights up our corner-lot house, was one of the things I was going to miss most when I was packing boxes and preparing to leave several months ago to move up north. And it was one of the things I rejoiced over when I realized we wouldn't be moving after all.
Since North Dakota and Jacob and a heap of disappointment that came with loss and the ending of a dream, it's felt as though our rhythm is off. Something isn't quite right. Something isn't working. There has been this spirit of unsettledness - in my heart, my body, my home, even my marriage and with my boys. It's as if something has been misplaced.
I've been waiting for it to balance out, but it's hasn't. Trying to juggle and control and manage and make things work. Always, always I find myself back in the same places. Terrified of letting go, of trusting and being vulnerable.
Maybe I'm a bit like a fall leaf in South Texas.
Waiting until nearly winter to change, to fall, to let go.
Perhaps when one keeps a blog, there is an expectation to write in it frequently. Or maybe that's an expectation I have for myself. And though my little space in the blogosphere has never been popular or widely read, I come here to share stories and heart ponderings - and used to on a very regular and daily basis. Writing - it's my thing. It's my happy place, my therapy, my coming-home.
Yet I've found myself at a loss for written words lately and I don't really know why.
Something inside of me feels dry. Thirsty even.
We have been desperate for rain lately in my little part of the world. The summer has been dry and brutal and any chance of rain has come in short spurts and showers, not doing much for our parched lands. Storms will be moving in and they literally short out and disappear when met with our dryness. I didn't even know that could happen.
One of those short storms moved in today. I longed for the skies to stay gray and cloudy, for the rain to come back. To let us drink and soak it in.
I think perhaps I'm needing a drink. I need a long soak, a downpour. Apparently, I am thirsting for something.
I was overjoyed to flip open my calendar to a brand new crispy, clean, fresh month. Oh September, you're finally here.
August is behind us - and it wasn't just the overwhelming heat that made the month challenging. It was a struggle to get through it. Fighting old demons, feeling old feelings. Death and loss. Chaotic childcare arrangements. Excessive working-mom guilt that plagued me. Too many tired nights that required take-out or bowls of cereal for dinner. A baby boy who is only truly happy in his mama's arms - sweet yes, but a bit exhausting. Tense relationships, missed conversations. Disconnected, disappointed, disheartened.
Boy, was it ever an August.
To celebrate it's end and looking forward to a new month ahead, I cut my hair this weekend. I didn't go drastic, but I took some of the length off and added in some layers. It's a bit sassy and a bit classic too.
It's amazing how pretty a new haircut can make you feel. When it bounces and feels perfectly silky after leaving the salon - I left wondering why I don't pamper myself this way more often.
This last month felt like day after day of having hard days in front of the mirror. Despising what I see, sitting in self-contempt - it was time for an identity check. I did some journaling, voiced the things I have been keeping inside, and picked myself back up again. I treated myself to a haircut, cleaned out my closet and made some new plans for taking better care of myself - body and soul.
Sometimes, it takes a really long, hard August for you to find your grounding again. And when you do, you wake up and find that it's finally, finally, finally.....September.