I love Autumn: that crisp feeling in the air, the crunch of brightly coloured leaves underfoot, puddles made for jumping in, conkers, pumpkin carving, frosty mornings, getting wrapped up in jumpers and sipping hot cups of cocoa and warm bowls of soup… Pure magic!
But, this year feels a little different. It’s a season of new beginnings for us all. My big boy begins at nursery school next week, for the very first time, and my baby boy is about to turn one! Where did the time go?
This time last year, I was heavily pregnant and spent our days waddling around various National Trust properties, following an excitable two year old on seemingly never ending Bear Hunts & spotting Gruffalo’s. We had all the time in the world, just me and him (and, of course, daddy at weekends).
In the weeks that followed, we became a family of four and, 12 months later, I now have two boys to chase through leaves and help me in the ongoing search for fictional creatures. Now the little one spends his days trying to catch up with the big one, who still isn’t really that interested in his brother, and the resulting happy chaos means that the days slip by so very fast.
Days turn to weeks and here I am, at the end of August, looking at a fearless boy of three, who now delights in climbing trees, running through long grass and rolling down hills and his brother, no longer a baby but, a bouncing (almost toddling) boy, so keen to follow in his brother’s daredevil stunts.
I love each wonderful stage that they reach, but it terrifies me how quickly it happens. It seems just a heartbeat ago that I was gingerly lowering a sleeping boy back into his cot through the night, a task that became harder and harder as the bump grew, and now he just clambers into bed with us if he needs us in the night.
So this Autumn, as my big boy takes yet another step towards independence, and my little one hits a big milestone in his first birthday, I will greet the season with a little less enthusiasm than usual.
As the leaves change colour on the trees around us, I’ll celebrate the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness with a new found respect. As the temperature drops and the air becomes crisp, I shall be reminded, more than ever, that (as Robert Frost so aptly put it) nothing gold can stay.
And whilst at the moment I mostly spend my mornings getting over the nights before, people cheerfully reassure me that it won’t last forever. And they say it as though that should bring me comfort. Which, of course, it doesn’t. Because I long to live in a world where I could jump through puddles with my babies forever, cuddle them to sleep and where a kiss from mummy will always make it better.
Instead, I’ll settle for squeezing in as many muddy puddle memories as we can possibly make this year and embracing this season as one of Thanksgiving: both for magical seasons past and for so many still to come.
New Family Motto: Leave no puddle unsploshed.