An Ode to Autumn as a Mother

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Photo Credit: Erin Kirby

Maybe I’m basic, but I prefer to think I’m right; autumn is the best season.

I’ve been a fall fanatic since I was a child. The excitement of new beginnings at school, playing in the leaves, building scarecrows, Halloween, fall festivals, apple and pumpkin picking, Thanksgiving with my family, and my birthday. All wrapped up into one perfect season that isn’t too hot, too cold, or too wet (normally). Perfection. 

As an adult, I celebrated all things autumn long before becoming a mom. But, in my humble opinion, being a mom makes the season so much better. Admittedly, back to school fever hasn’t hit our family yet, because my child is in preschool. But the rest of the excitement has. 

Outside, the world is changing from warm and humid summer to crisp and cool autumn. The colors of the trees and the sky draw us outside to experience the season. There is nothing like hiking in the woods with my child, with the leaves changing and the incredible smell of autumn everywhere. We collect acorns and vibrant leaves until our hands and pockets are full. Each one is unique, special, and valuable. What a great reminder to find the beauty in every little thing around us! 

The author’s child taking an autumn stroll in the woods.

I feel extra crafty in the fall. My child and I create together; not just products but memories. Ones like those I cherish from doing crafts with my mom when I was a kid. From tissue paper ghosts to leaf crafts to painted pumpkins and apple stamps. Then there is the baking…the smells of cinnamon and nutmeg and allspice and ginger—the taste of pumpkin and apple everything. The oven warms our home, the food and drinks warm our bellies, and the time together warms my heart. 

             

Speaking of apple and pumpkin everything, there is also the excitement of visiting local farms for pumpkin and apple picking. We are fortunate to have tons of great options in our corner of the world. The world seems endless, standing on a hill in an orchard, surrounded by produce and people and tractors and nature. And time seems to stand still as I help my child grab the perfect apple off a branch. 

           

I can’t forget to include the magic that is Halloween. Decorations, scary and fun, transforming our neighborhoods from suburban oases to something straight out of Halloween Town. Watching the wonder in my child’s eyes as this change occurs makes the world feel extra magical.

Trick or Treating is just the cherry on top of the Halloween season (which brings me to the request to accommodate Trick or Treating because it can be an incredibly dangerous time for kids with food allergies and other medical conditions). My child relishes becoming something or someone else for the night and collecting treats even as a preschooler. Screams of excitement fill the air on Halloween night and melt my heart. 

                 

But autumn is not over after Halloween. November brings a season of preparing for the cold of winter and celebrations with those nearest and dearest to us. The leaves have fallen, and sometimes we see our first snowflakes. That makes it a perfect time to gather with those we love to celebrate all that makes life so special. Times have been difficult, with so many of us separated from friends and family, but I am hopeful this year will be different.

The month of gratitude can feel contrived, shallow, and commercialized to some, but I tend to feel extra sentimental instead. Fond memories of being together for good food and better company, beginning the process of saying goodbye to the calendar year, and welcoming the holiday season make November extra special. I spend time reading books about family and gratitude with my child, learning about togetherness and community. I relish the moments where we gather together around the dinner table for a meal so thoughtfully planned and carefully executed.

And I treasure being able to raise my child to know the same warm, family-centric holiday I was raised with. Despite being young, he knows November brings time with family, friends, tons of excitement, and a day of great food. And, he knows it is a time of love and togetherness. I’m forever grateful that my family is fortunate enough that my child knows nothing but security, love, and warmth, especially during the holiday season.  

Watching my child experience the magic of fall brings out the kid in me. I get to relive all the excitement of being young while being able to feel the joy that comes from helping my child make memories like those I treasure from my youth. Like autumn, childhood goes way too fast. So, as summer turns to fall, I’m slowing down and trying to cherish each moment that makes the season special.

“Fill Your Life With Experiences, Not Things. Have Stories To Tell, Not Stuff To Show.” – Anonymous 

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Erin is the mother of one sweet, rambunctious toddler and wife to a talented chef. Professionally, she is a former special educator and preschool teacher, and is currently a cognitive neuroscience researcher and Ph.D candidate in Cognitive Science in Education with specializations in neuroscience, cognitive development, and neurodiversity/autism. She holds masters degrees in cognitive science, and neuroscience in education, from Teachers College, Columbia University, and undergraduate degrees in special education (with an additional concentration in elementary education and a minor in English) and early childhood education. As the wife of a chef, food is a huge part of her family culture, and she enjoy both cooking and baking. Some of her other hobbies include hiking, traveling, jogging, meditation, animal rescue, playing piano and guitar, crafting, reading, and of course, writing. You can follow her parenting journey and pick up tips on great kids activities here on Westchester Moms Blog, as well as her website (www.themindfullyscientificmama.com), Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts.

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