10. Fall brings football season - a time to be outside in the crisp air sipping coffee and socializing with friends.
9. Fall brings the most glorious scents: just cut open pumpkin, apple cider, the smell of hay on a hayride, just fired up wood stoves, the first fire in your fireplace, and the smell of Halloween candy!
8. The best flavors on the planet: pumpkin breads and muffins, apple crisp, apple cider with a cinnamon stick, nutmeg spices, seasonal squashes, turkey sandwiches and cranberries! I could go on and on... mmmm.
7. A full calendar of family events - pumpkin fairs and costume contests, trips to A.C. Moore and iParty, charitable walks and fundraisers, and did I mention Pop Warner football and cheer from August through November?
6. Getting ghosted... then finding out who left the goodies on your doorstep and sharing the fun with someone else.
5. The colors are exquisite! Travel up Rt. 495 and see colors you didn't remember existed in nature until Columbus Day appears to remind you. Vivid, energizing and amazing!
4. That very first snow, where you watch those big flakes come down like you've never seen them before... sure, some hate it, I love it! Bring out the mittens and warm scarves... and snowplows!
3. Pumpkin Ice Cream. I am obsessed with it, and it only appears for a few months each year. (Why is life so cruel?)
2. Trick or Treating through the crunch leaves, flashlights in hand, never knowing what big or small monsters and creative characters you'll see in your own neighborhood.
1. Fall is nature's way of getting you energized after a lazy summer and preparing you for a busy, full holiday season ahead, and there's no better place on earth to go through holiday boot camp than New England.
My funny, fabulous son started middle school this year, and he finally seems to be hitting his stride. Looking back, my middle school experience felt more like a ride in the back of one of those truck/bus jobbies in a third world country. You are not really confident you are on the right bus or are going in the right direction, there's a stranger coughing up a lung next to you and someone screaming behind you, and a chicken just ran over your foot. Chaos, laughter, and madness. I remember a lot of practical jokes, a lot of mean-spirited girls and guys, and a lot of good times doing some crazy things with people that I'm still best friends with. And a lot of boredom and frustration, trying to figure out the social scene while juggling school, family and eventually, a first job.
Now I'm a mom and I worry about a lot of things, but I try not to bring my own feelings and biases into my kids' lives... I believe that they should find their own path and discover who they are without mom (or dad) telling them what to think, fear, hope, believe, and do. I want to emulate those really amazing mountain sherpas, who carry baggage and gently guide, allowing the climber to make their own mistakes if they so choose (or provide guidance when they ask).
Middle school sherpas... what a concept. And those middle school backpacks are a lot heavier than I remember.