Saturday, August 24, 2013

Signs of Fall

Signs of fall are all around. It's moving-in weekend for SUNY Fredonia students, and the Fredonia Farm Festival is in full swing. Quiet summer nights have given way to the loud voices and late-night laughter of our new student-neighbors as they make their way home from house parties and bars. On my way to the farmers' market early this morning, I saw the tell-tale beer cans nestled in the grass and the first few colored leaves on the sidewalk. Although fall is my favorite season, these early signs of fall are bittersweet. If fall is coming, that means summer is ending. And the end of summer means our last child will be leaving for her last year of college. It means the house will soon feel too big, too quiet, and too empty. It means taking baby spinach and baby kale for green smoothies off my weekly shopping list and adding non-vegetarian entrees to our weekly menus. It means my girl won't be perched on the other couch doing her nails or making bracelets while we watch Mad About You or Gilmore Girls. It means I won't see her ponytail swinging as she heads out for a run. It means she won't be making us laugh at the dinner table or on the tennis court. It means we have to get used to being two again, instead of three or four or five. We've been sending kids off to college for nine years now, but somehow it never gets any easier. How can it? How can we stop missing our kids when they are not with us? My mom is eighty-one, and she still misses my sister, my brothers and me.  She treasures letters, phone calls, and visits and wishes they were all more frequent.  So maybe it's something you never really make peace with, you just handle it as gracefully as possible and keep your door and heart open.  For everything there is a season.

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