A Glorious Fall Afternoon

Our fall weather this week has been the weather of dreams.

Thing 2 is enjoying our gloriously cooler days, that are filled with sunshine and the smell of falling leaves, by interrupting MY dreams.  He shone a flashlight (the likes of which NASA uses to illuminate distant planets, because it has the glowing firepower of exploding stars) in my face at 5:09 this morning.  He whispered, “I just wanted to tell you that I have to go potty.  And then I think it might be morning, but I’m not sure.”  The flashlight flew to my digital clock at my bedside, and then back into my face, like it was the worst inquisition of EVER.  “The clock says ‘five with a zero and a nine.’  Is that morning, Mom?  IS IT?”

I was glad he told me the numbers on the clock, because my retinas were burned off, as I blinked out ashes.

So that’s how I woke up this morning.

But the weather… well… she’s stinking beautiful.

Earlier this week, Sister and I took The Littles to the park for sandwiches, with a side of bees.  Apparently, the smell of processed lunch meat will float out into the atmosphere and bring bees from thirty-six entire counties right to your picnic table.

Afterward, when the sandwiches were gone and the bees had evacuated our area for the promise of SOMEONE EATING A BLT IN A BACKYARD FOURTEEN BLOCKS DUE EAST, the kids spent two entire hours paying in the leaves.  Meanwhile, Sister and I talked about important topics, like WHAT ARE YOU MAKING FOR DINNER TONIGHT, BECAUSE I THINK WE’RE JUST GRILLING HAMBURGERS AND POPPING OPEN A BAG OF RUFFLES.

Of course I had my camera with me, because I seldom venture anywhere without it.  These snapshots tonight are what I captured.  What these pictures don’t convey is the sheer volume of laughter between these two.  Our Littles laughed and laughed and LAUGHED together.  The air smelled like leaves and fresh dirt; the air was cool and crisp and perfectly warmed with sunshine.  The kids were happy and content.

I wanted to bottle the afternoon up and keep it forever.  That’s how good it was.

The preschool years are hard.  They are.  Any mother who tells you they aren’t is probably lying to you.  They’re full of tantrums and breakdowns over ASKING FOR TOAST FOR BREAKFAST AND THEN BAWLING WHEN THE TOAST IS MADE, BECAUSE HE REALLY WANTED STRING CHEESE AND OATMEAL FOR BREAKFAST.  The preschool years are full of sleepless nights and struggles over doing things that those little people WANT TO DO BY THEMSELVES, but which they are actually TOO SMALL TO DO WITHOUT A LOT OF HELP.  They’re full of long days and SO.  MUCH.  STINKING.  LAUNDRY.  They’re full of mornings when the cat’s tail is pulled six times too many, when you’ve read the same book thirty-four times in a row, and you have spilled milk and spilled juice and slopped yogurt EVERYWHERE.  They’re full of afternoons when you think your house will NEVER, EVER be clean again.

They’re hard, those preschool years.  But here’s the thing…  The years go so quickly.  If having a sixteen-year-old son has taught me one thing, it’s that the years slip out of your hands quicker than the proverbial greased piglet at the fair.  So… when we have these gloriously wonderful afternoon that are so perfect you think your heart will break from all the contentment you feel at being this little person’s mother… and this other little person’s favorite aunt… you completely forget that when you get back home, you’ll be facing a smashed banana all over the sofa and four-point-nine million Lego bricks on the floor and five loads of laundry that you didn’t get done because… well... you spent THE ENTIRE AFTERNOON at the park, playing in the leaves.

img_2591 img_2598 img_2603 img_2610 img_2606 img_2604 img_2612 img_2614 img_2616 img_2618 img_2625 img_2627 img_2628 img_2634 img_2631 img_2638 img_2636 img_2649 img_2655 img_2656 img_2653 img_2658The Littles were so tickled at filling their shirts full of leaves, that they caught a batch of HYSTERICAL GIGGLES.  They’d stuff their shirts as full as they could get them, and then waddle across the park, trailing an endless stream of yellow leaves behind them.  And then they were dumping their shirts out into one giant pile on the far side of the park.

Sister and I laughed at their antics, right along with them.

img_2661 img_2662 img_2664 img_2667Anyway…

… happy fall, y’all.

Happy fall.

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