Monday, October 19, 2009
The Fall Came Quickly
I think, five minutes ago, I was hot outside. Just one month ago, I lifted my niece up during her second birthday party and she laid her head on my shoulder and I buried a hand into her sweaty curls at the nape of her neck. It lasted about thirty seconds, but I closed my eyes to save it forever.
Then Saturday, I found myself in Portland, Maine, buying not one, but TWO winter coats. Back in Kentucky, I pulled on gloves this morning as I trudged out to my car to scrape the back windshield. Later this afternoon, I did my run with my jacket on.
This is not to say I am sad about the fall--it is my favorite season, hands down. Cool air makes me feel alive, the leaves with the color reminds me that everything changes. It reminds me that I can change, and that new beginnings are possible and that even when it's over, fall will come back around again.
It's very much my way to picture the end before the beginning, and knowing that seasons always come back around makes the start of each one comforting to me on a very deep level.
I am in the midst of major decisions. I have job offers, the beginnings of offers, the "discussions" that could lead to my life taking different and new directions. This weekend I walked down this street of Portland:
I was with my family. My uncle (Dad's brother), his wife, his two sons (my cousins) and their two wives and one new baby. My cousins have watched over me from the very beginning and have been big brothers in every sense of the word except for being physically with me throughout much of my life. They have lived in several places throughout New England, and while it wasn't THAT far--it might as well have been the end of the earth from our old Kentucky home.
After my parents divorced, we never went back to visit. My cousins' parents divorced also, and our lives began to take wildly different paths. Somehow, we managed to stay connected, and I sat at a table in the basement of a dusty bar on Saturday afternoon with 8 people who shared my last name. We had the same bright blue eyes. As someone who has spent much of my life trying to blend in with stepfamilies and absorb myself into a family life that isn't truly my own, this was a relief.
I have a chance to live there. I have the chance to make this life my own, and to strike out and move somewhere entirely different and without a single friend.
But I'll have them. And I'll have him, who won't hesitate to put me on his shoulders again.
Todd and I are grown up now, and as we clutched beers and talked about forever in a bar on Saturday night, I felt a sense of security that I hadn't in awhile. He picked me up at the airport, picked up my bags, and I had a feeling he also wanted to put me back on his shoulders and protect me from the world.
As overwhelming as this entire process is, I am trying to always take a step back and relish in the fact that in so many places across this country, I am loved. I have people willing to open their homes to me, to offer me their money, their friends, their way of life to be mine.
I am a lucky person.
And when the panic that comes with so many life changes coming so soon catches up to me, and I find myself in my car taking deep breathes with a forehead pressed against my steering wheel, I tell myself this over and over.
I put my gloves on, crunch through the leaves and think about how the Fall came quickly, but I will always get up.