Dear Sweet Autumn Child,
Once again, the air has begun to cool and the smell of autumn is in the breeze. As I feel the new season approaching, I can’t help but think — as I imagine I will for the rest of my life — of my sweet autumn baby boy.
One year ago, I sat outside with my hand resting on a swollen belly and I wrote a letter to you, my autumn child. I wrote about this season and what it means to our family — how it’s special to your dad and me for so many reasons. And now, here we are again in the season of your birth.
There was so much I didn’t know on that autumn day last year.
For starters, I didn’t know you’d be a boy — a rough and tumble kind of guy who gets up from a fall and takes off again, undaunted. I certainly didn’t expect your blonde hair or your big blue eyes. I didn’t know if you’d be colicky or easygoing; a good sleeper or a night terror. I didn’t know if I’d be a confident mom or easily rattled by a crying jag — and I didn’t always believe I could do the job I had ahead.
Before you, I thought of autumn as a season of endings — of leaves and flowers fading away and the wildlife preparing for winter. Now, I see autumn differently.
It is a season of beginnings, of arrivals, of impending change. It’s not a time for the weak.
Although I’ll remember it for the rest of my life, my memory of the day you arrived has grown soft around the edges. My pregnancy, which seemed interminable at the time, now seems like a movie I watched late at night; I remember the plot, but some of the details have become foggy.
I wish I knew how to grab hold of each beautiful day with you and make it stay just a little longer. You’ve become a whirlwind of activity, and I breathe a sigh of relief once you’ve finally gone down for the night. But there’s also a little twinge in my heart for another day gone by.
Last night, I listened to my father read you the book Love You Forever on the last evening of your grandparents’ visit. Each time he sung the little song from the book, you tilted your head up at your grandpa and smiled, and I took a little mental snapshot of the two of you. It was a poignant moment, one I’ll hold on to for a long time to come.
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.
No, you are not yet the man who rocks his ailing mother. Nor are you the unruly teenager or the sullen 9-year-old boy. But suddenly, you seem more like the mischievous 2-year-old than the tiny baby in the story.
It’s been nearly four years since the beautiful autumn day when your father and I were married, and nearly a year since the beautiful autumn day when you came into our lives. I recall our first walks when I bundled you tightly against the brisk fall air. I remember the chilly winter mornings when I’d pull a blanket over my knees and you’d nuzzle your warm body against my skin. I remember the spring afternoons when I carried you in your sling and shielded your eyes against the bright sunlight. And I remember our long summer together, swinging and playing and discovering the world.
It’s already been a wild ride, and I know we have so much more to come. Welcome to autumn, my son, the season of your birth.