I’m not much of a summer girl. I enjoy sunshine and sundresses as much as anyone else, but the unrelenting humidity and constant temperature shifts from hot to fake cold because of the air conditioning are just not my things. What’s more, summer is the only thing that stands between me and my favorite time of year.
Fall has always represented newness to me. Not in the same way that spring does, when everything is fresh and just starting to bloom with life. Fall represents newness in that it’s a time for new adventures, new flavors, and new beginnings. Fall is for fresh school supplies, fresh air, and fresh dreams.
This year, fall also means baby. I’m due on November 16, right as fall is turning to winter, so summer turning to fall means it’s go time. I have only a short season left to finish the nursery, assemble the furniture, wash the clothes, install the car seats, and prepare to have my life changed forever. Also, I have only a short season to learn how to keep a human alive. If you have any pointers, please let me know.
It’s not that I’ve dreaded the coming of fall; I’m thrilled that my favorite time of year is going to culminate in the arrival of a precious little girl, zipped up in her fleece footie pajamas and wrapped in swaddling blankets. It’s just that I can’t help but approach this exciting season with a little bit of trepidation in my steps, like I’m quietly peeking around a corner, hoping that what I see on the other side is pleasant and not frightening.
As I’ve looked toward fall this year, it’s helped me to enjoy summer even more than I have in previous years. Summer was a little sweeter because this was the last one Dan and I will enjoy alone, and because this is when we really started dreaming about our little one.
This summer, we found out that she’s a girl.
This summer, we planned her nursery and thoughtfully chose each element, hoping to surround her with warmth and love while also building her independence and ability to dream.
This summer, we took spur of the moment trips to Dan’s family’s cottage and spent carefree nights on the water.
This summer, we gallivanted around the mountains of Colorado and dreamed of taking baby girl on her first big adventure.
This summer, we adopted a dog and began to understand the joy of experiencing the world all over again through the eyes of an innocent little one.
Last weekend, Dan and I made our standard Saturday night ice cream run to Oberweis, and we brought Riley with us. We sat outside and devoured our treats, trying not to let them melt. We watched Riley watch us, just thrilled to have new things to look at. We let her lick just the littlest bit of ice cream off the lid of Dan’s treat, and laughed as she realized how delightful it is.
We enjoyed one of the last warm summer nights, watching our sweet puppy learn about the world. We talked about the adventures we’d have with our human baby girl, anticipating her squeals at the crashing waves tickling her toes, her delight at her first taste of a cinnamon roll, her pride at pulling herself up on the furniture for the first time.
This year, summer was equal parts carefree and careful; I enjoyed my freedom but took it easy on the activities. It was equal parts warm and chilling; warm with anticipation of baby girl’s arrival, but chilling every time I thought of all the ways I could mess up this parenting thing. Summer was equal parts salty and sweet, as I melted down more than a few times over things that really didn’t matter, but as I dreamed about who this little baby will be.
This summer was for playing and planning, laughing and crying, being present and looking toward the future.
But this fall is for anticipation and dreaming and holding my breath, waiting to exhale until that tiny bundle is in my arms.
What did summer mean for you this year? Was it a sweet season, or did it leave you ready for a new start this fall?