The start of autumn brings memories cascading down around me like the colorful leaves that flutter to the ground and pile high underneath the trees. They warm my heart like a cup of cocoa with marshmallows and at the center of each one is love.
Am I noticing this because I passed the dreaded four-oh. Or is it because I’m learning to appreciate the ‘now’ moments more? I really don’t know why, but each year at this time the memories come unbidden.
Memories Are Powerful
We lived many places during my childhood. My favorite place had a huge yard with lots of trees. Each one dropped thousands of leaves. We raked them into giant piles. Well actually, my parents did. My sister and I weren’t very old and even though we tried to help, we created more work. What I do know, is that we spent hours jumping in the piles, burying each other in them, running through them, and restacking them so we could do it all over again. All these years later it lifts my mood just thinking about those fun Sundays.
A few years ago when my niece, Princess Cadence, lived here, she and I spent many afternoons making large piles of leaves and rolling down the hill into them while Oma cheered us on. We’d lay in the leaves, giggling until our tummies hurt.
Tyler, my big beautiful boy, loved to chase leaves. He patiently stalked them and when the wind rustled them across the grass he made his move. Chasing and tackling them into submission. Once they admitted defeat, he’d roll on his back, holding several in his arms, and kick them to shreds with his back paws.
Memories are powerful emotional triggers. Just writing these three stories tugged my heart in different directions.
- Joy – to this day I smile when I see a pile of leaves.
- Laughter – I smile every time I remember the sound of Princess Cadence’s giggles.
- Sadness – while my memories of Tyler are happy, they are also bittersweet because he crossed the rainbow bridge a few years ago. It amazes me how so often joy and sadness often mix in our minds.
I’ve always admired spontaneous people. For them, the next adventure is always around the corner and fun is only a moment away.
Let me tell you a little secret. I like to plan.
So when life unexpectedly throws things at me–I duck. Hey, at least I don’t fall in a heap and cry. I’m getting better at going with the flow.
When my niece had just turned four, she really wanted to go fishing with Auntie, Oma, and Papa during her visit. So we planned a day to go.
Autumn in Colorado was in full swing and quickly turning into winter. The night before our fishing trip we went to bed early. Morning came and we discovered a foot of snow on the ground! Over breakfast, I told Princess Cadence we wouldn’t be able to go fishing.
With the instinctive reasoning of a child, she asked if we could go fishing anyway. I explained to her that it would be very cold and we probably wouldn’t catch anything. With complete faith, that my fishing skills in no way deserve, she declared that Auntie would catch a monster fish. Then without taking a breath she asked if we could have a picnic when we went fishing.
Talk about being spontaneous! Big blue eyes that stared at me, her tiny hand that rested on my forearm, and a giant smile melted my resolve to stay warm at home.
I cooked a pot of chili and made cocoa. I packed thermoses, blue speckled metal camping bowls, cups, spoons, and baby wipes. Papa loaded the fishing gear in the truck. We sang Christmas carols on the drive to our fishing spot.
Excitement filled us when we arrived at the lake. It was frozen! True to form, my niece rolled with it, and declared that we’d play on the toys and then eat our picnic lunch.
I drove to the nearby park. Oma sat at a table and watched as Princess Cadence chased Papa and Auntie. Then we had fun on the playground equipment until she was cold and hungry.
Papa shoved snow off the picnic table and Auntie and Oma unpacked the picnic lunch. It was the best chili and cocoa I’ve ever eaten. My niece still remembers our unique picnic several years later.
Making Time For Love
One of my fondest childhood memories is of rainy days when my sister and I couldn’t play outside. Mommy would make hot drinks and we’d curl up on the couch while she read to us. Sometimes we’d play board games or color while we sipped our drinks. The activities may have changed, but the hot drinks made in the yellow percolator, and her love were constant.
Life really is about love. It doesn’t matter how much or how little money we have, love is best created by spending time together. It doesn’t take much to create bonds and memories that last a lifetime. Small moments, like my mom rubbing my back when I had trouble sleeping as a child, are the things that stick with me. Time and a loving heart are all that’s required to share love.
What memories come to mind when you think of autumn? I’d love to hear them. Why not share your favorite one in the comments?