We tend to think of spring as the season of renewal. But this fall, I am feeling more and more like this is the time of renewal, of the return to the old as well as welcoming the new. As the cool days now outnumber the warm ones, and the leaves have shared all but the last few bursts of color, we return to the familiarity of the last few months of the year - and yet we are joined by a new family member, making all things new. Finally, I, too, feel as though I have returned to my former self. I had been struggling quite a bit with postpartum depression, and finally I feel as though I have turned the corner. I am so grateful for the support of my family, particularly my mom, as well as my friends and my beloved midwife. In retrospect, I am shocked at how unhealthy I was; thus I feel renewed in this new season, and so grateful to be back.
Because of the many holidays we celebrate in these closing months, I love the return of the traditions. Last weekend, we enjoyed another Halloween with the kids. Aidan was a "Piwrite", a Pirate who writes. Last-minute, Leo decided that he wanted to be a lion, complete with a ferocious growl! And Pax was a skeleton - the cutest one you'll ever see. We carved clever and unique pumpkins in the morning - Leo insisted on an "upside down" pumpkin, and Aidan designed a mouth on his that was much-admired by the big kids who came trick-or-treating to our door. In the afternoon, we headed to the Martells for a special trick-or-treat, then to the Williams' for pizza and delicious goodies. Finally, it was time for trick-or-treating! This year, we went with our friends and neighbors, the Greens. We had so much fun, despite the on-again, off-again rain, and the scary chainsaw at the neighbors' house. Aidan stayed out with Logan [Green] after Leo and Pax had called it quits, and when he finally got home he announced, "My dogs are barking! My feet are killing me!"
This weekend, we took the kids on the first hiking trip of the season, to Shenandoah National Park. We chose the hike that was closest to the park entrance, the Turk Gap Trail. It's 2.2 miles round trip, with considerable hills and some rocky parts. The kids were amazing hikers! As long as Leo had a stick to drag in his hand, he was a happy boy, and Aidan loved scouting out the next trail marker. I am so impressed by how far Aidan has come in a year. He was clearly exhausted by the end of the long hike, and yet he kept on plugging away, never whining or complaining. Pax showed his enthusiasm for hiking in the way he knows best - contented sleep in the Moby wrap. While the trees were well past their prime, the weather was gorgeous and we all felt rejuvinated and restored from the time we spent together, enjoying nature and all its glory.
Today, we created our annual Tree of Thanks, and it was so rewarding for me to watch Aidan cut out each leaf himself and write his own thanksgivings on each one. He composed ones for the kitties, ("Zoe and Alice are thankful for mice") and gave suggestions to Leo and Pax about what they might write. (Cookies; Flat Cat; milk; Flippo, Pax's flat hippo lovey.) The best part was that Aidan remembered this tradition from last year and initiated his own gratitudes on each leaf.
This year I feel more grateful than ever, for my healthy, beautiful family of five; for the love and support of our family and friends; for the safety, stability, and security we enjoy; for overcoming the struggles of the past six weeks. Thus, this quote resonates particularly strongly for me:
"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow."