November reminds me that we are firmly in autumn and that I should enjoy it while it lasts for winter will be here soon. The warm days spent outside and the cold days spent in a new seasonal rhythm are both equally welcome. The wind sighs through the tree branches, bringing the last leaves to the ground. Jack o’lantern smiles turn to mush and we move gradually into the holidays and festivities that begin later in the month. For these few weeks, though, I find calm in the gray skies, early sunrises, and nights made cozy by the bright lights inside.
Halloween was the first holiday that we got to explain to Amos and celebrate with his full involvement. Carving pumpkins and baking together, talking about trick or treating and the monsters who would come to our house for treats got me thinking a lot about what family holidays will be like for us. On Saturday, after carving pumpkins and while the seeds were still roasting, we were all in the kitchen. Amos and I made gingerbread while Ray prepared dinner. I thought about this as one of the many beginnings to many more warm and cozy celebrations together.
Ray and I have enjoyed small, quiet celebrations for the past several years. We’ve created a few traditions of our own (thanksgiving pie contest, christmas lasagna) but have kept things very simple. The beginnings of these experiences as a family is a chance to reconnect with the excitement and wonder that I felt on many holidays as a child. Being a parent gives me a completely different perspective but no less delight in sharing these special days with my family. Already, I look forward to the way traditions will come together and the way they will change and evolve as we do.
Every day, Amos asks about 374 questions and I find myself calmly explaining things that I didn’t know I could so clearly express (not every time, but more often than I would expect). Explaining a holiday is definitely on the trickier end of the spectrum of questions. The day after halloween Amos was waiting for darkness when we could light candles in jack o’lanterns and trick or treat again. But, a few days later, we talk about how halloween day is over even though there are still spider webs, ghosts, and skeletons on people’s houses.
And now we are sliding into a few weeks of regular days and settling into a late fall routine. Time for small projects and planning for bigger preparations, more holiday explanations and the anticipation of gathering with extended family and friends. Time to enjoy the season, the weather, the celebrations together.