Autumn is a busy time for our family. We have Arlo’s birthday, half term, Bonfire Night, Halloween, the clock change, all within two weeks of each other.
I do struggle with the drop in temperature, the darker mornings and evenings, and the general exhaustion that I feel at this time of year.
But, Autumn is undeniably the most beautiful season. That magical low light, and all the colour in the leaves – it’s just beautiful.
In my daydreams where we’ve moved somewhere hot all year round, I always imagine we’d come back for visits to England in the Autumn. When nature is at it’s prettiest.
Last year, I took 2.5 year old Rory trick or treating to a couple of houses. He had no idea what it was all about, but by the third house, it had well and truly dawned on him and then I had trouble getting him back home.
It was incredibly sweet hearing his tiny little voice exclaim “TRICK OR TREAT!” as he bounced up and down with giddy excitement. Arlo, however, opted to stay at home, horrified at the idea of having to talk to strangers in such an abrupt way.
This year, with Sam being away, I was honestly planning to turn the lights off, not put a pumpkin out, and certainly not traipse around the streets of South London with two chocolate-addled children and a baby who was way past his bedtime.
Until Arlo changed the game on us, that is.
He barely paused to take breath as he scrambled out of his classroom at home time, “Can we go Trick or Treating?? Can we? Can we?” (I love that the school effect seems to work wonders with him sometimes, encouraging him to join in with things he wouldn’t normally consider.)
So, because it was Arlo, and because he surprised me so much with his sudden turnaround, I found myself cobbling together two very last minute outfits, and off we went.
My older two boys gave me another surprise when they unanimously voted to go to the big fireworks display, despite one (or both) being apprehensive in previous years.
Fresh off his 11 hour flight from Cape Town, Sam joined us as we followed the crowds to Blackheath, and for the first time in history, we had all three children and not one tear.
Living the Autumn traditions with the kids this year reminded me of that time when I was a child – half term and halloween and bonfire night all passing within days of each other in an exciting blur. As a school age child, I remember it being a fun time of year, always lots of stuff going on, and I relished the sense of community brought about by the events.
We are starting to find that here, in our own little community. Knocking on houses during our Trick or Treat session to find them occupied with friends from school. Bumping into neighbours and more friends en-route. Watching the fireworks in a gang. Establishing traditions for the boys to look forward to each year.
A grainy shot from the fireworks display:
I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed family time so much. It just gets better year on year. I remember this time of year as fun, magical, exciting. And I love watching the beginnings of those years with my own children.
At six and three years old, I am conscious that Arlo and Rory are of an age where they can and will form permanent memories. This is the start of the formative years of their childhood. The days that they will look back on when they are older, the happy times that will shape the memories of their childhood in their minds.
Because it’s not my favourite time of year and the arrival of the cold will always unsettle me slightly, I have to remind myself of the good things about Autumn. And this is it: Autumn, you are fun, you are beautiful. You make me focus on family, and you remind me of what is important.
Autumn, you’ve been a good one this year.