I’m not ready. The fall has hurtled toward me with the speed of Usain Bolt and I would really rather not, thanks. It happened not long ago. I woke up and went outside with the puppy and the air had changed overnight. From summer heat and laziness to fall crisp and intention.
Mornings are an adventure at our house, with my morning person sunshine raining on the night owl glory of my people. From underneath the covers, pulled tight as though they could stop morning from coming, I hear, “I’m not ready.” It used to make me grouchy, and I felt entitled to run around rushing everyone. It wasn’t working so I stopped. I set my alarm a few minutes earlier sometime last spring, and accepted that for now I would help the kids get dressed. They won’t go to university needing me to dress them every morning. Some day I will wake up and they won’t need me anymore.
When the end of the school year hit, we gladly ignored the alarm clocks and relaxed into evening park walks and popcorn. Later bedtimes meant a later and usually happier start to the day for all of us.
We bought school supplies in August, packed the backpacks and started thinking about routines. Our summer world is a happy liminal place where the necessary work is done, but beach days mean no socks. Even though the calendar is now turning to October, I need to say I’m still not ready.
I’m not ready for socks. It feels like the laundry triples just because five people start wearing socks. I’m not ready for jackets and pants, for insisting on clothing other than pyjamas and bathing suits. I would rather not pack lunches, sign agendas, drive to swimming. No, I do not want to trade the sprinkler for the leaves.
I’m not ready yet. But I do not have to be ready in order to show up anyway. I can do these things slowly, to the best of my ability, from this place that I am. Though I’m usually ready for these kinds of transitions, I have also denied myself the honesty of feeling unready.
The junk drawer is taking over a large section of counter beside the fridge. The kids’ drawers are full of clothes that do not fit. I have been revelling in the gifts of summer ice cream and barbecues, and it’s time to eat some salad so my winter pants will fit. As the time permits, I can clean the counter. Some evening soon, I’ll put on some music and sort little shirts and shorts. Some day soon I will wake up and be excited for scarves and pumpkin loaf. That day is not today.
I used to agonize about arriving everywhere early. The kids have taught me that I’m usually not in control of when I arrive and, to my surprise, the people who love me understand. This week I’m learning again that I am not in control of how I feel. However, my response to the feeling is my choice.
I am choosing to wander into my own room with a smile and be gentle with myself. Ready will come soon enough. For now, little hands slip into mine for another evening walk. The laundry can wait. No one will die from wearing the last orange shirt with the green shorts from yesterday. Likely no one will notice. Still, that outfit is a sign of my growth, an act of peaceful resistance against the violence I have done to myself.
My littlest discovered hundreds of new words over the summer, only some of which we can understand. Last night we were playing hide and seek before bed, and she was babbling away, when I caught what she was saying, “Ready, not, come!”
Ready or not, I’m coming into whatever the fall brings, with gentleness.
Perrault is a wife and mom, a grateful employee of Emmanuel Care, and a speaker, writer and consultant at www.leahperrault.com