Fall is in the air. A relief after the scorcher summer we’ve had. Even I have to admit that it feels pretty good. I am a summer girl through and through. But there is still something very special about crisp autumn days. Invigorating. A cool fall morning has a special clarity that summer mornings lack. I will certainly miss lazy summer days, and I wish winter would never come, but I do still enjoy this time of year. And fall brings so many awesome things with it. Chunky sweaters and flannel shirts, boots and bonfires, s’mores and hot cider, stargazing and raking leaves. There is always good to find if you know where to look.
Fall always takes me back to when I was a kid. We used to go camping every year right around this time. Everything was an adventure. From cooking over a campfire to flashlight tag after dark to cold midnight bathroom trips. There was a special kind of magic to those few autumn days. I think part of that magic was the time spent together as a family. Just us, no distractions. No work, no school, no TV. Not even any books. Just the good, old-fashioned kind of fun we could make with each other and our imaginations. We have always been a close-knit family, but still there was something special about those camping trips.
These days, fall makes me want to curl up under a crocheted afghan from my great-aunt with a mug of hot tea in one hand and the TV remote in the other. Warm and cozy and relaxed. A perfect fall evening. Well, almost. Add a special someone to snuggle with, and the picture would be perfectly complete. I don’t know why, but autumn days make my single status an even lonelier place to be than usual. No use wishing for what isn’t I guess. I just have to enjoy the upsides of the season and trust that everything will work out for the best. But hey, that’s life.
I have been blessed with the two most awesome parents in the whole world. I could not even begin to put into words how grateful I am for all they have given me. I hope that someday I can be half as wonderful a parent as they were to the six of us. We were fortunate to have an idyllic childhood and we actually kinda turned out okay considering the kids we used to be – and all credit goes to Mama and Daddy for that. As I’ve said before, we didn’t have much as far as worldly possessions go. And there were times that they didn’t know how they were gonna pay the bills or buy groceries. Money was always tight.
We didn’t care. We had everything. Grass stains and skinned knees. Home cooking and piles of laundry. Pretend fights and real ones too. Hide and seek and treasure hunts. Hand-me-downs and thrift-store shoes. Popsicles and backyard picnics. A cooler-than-cool homemade swing set and sandbox. Climbing trees and a swimming pool. Rainy-day coloring contests and time-outs in the corner. We had it all. Our house overflowed with love and laughter. I didn’t realize at the time how awesome we really had it. As a kid, you don’t always see what’s important. It’s not like I was discontented; I was perfectly happy with my life. But I had no idea that I was much better off than most.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to those happy, carefree days. I know I can’t. And even if I could, I don’t know that I would. Because if I were to get stuck as a kid forever, then how could I ever raise my own? I have always dreamed of having my own houseful of kids. As many as possible. Some people think I’m crazy. Maybe so. I attribute it to my own blissful childhood. Because I had it so great, I want to give the same happy years to as many kids as I can. Which is probably also why I want to adopt as well. I want them to have an awesome childhood too. I’m not saying that I think I will be a perfect parent. But I feel like I have to give back. I have had so much love given to me, I cannot keep it all to myself. I have to share this love with a family of my own.
It is a beautiful thing to rediscover something that you once loved but had since almost forgotten. When I was a kid, we had a swimming pool in the back yard. Nothing fancy, just one of those vinyl above-ground affairs. For this kid, it was heaven on earth. I love being in the water. That pool is where my Daddy taught me how to swim. I was really little and never got very good, but it was so much fun. Mama didn’t swim and we were too small to be in the pool by ourselves. So we waited eagerly for Daddy to get home from work every day all summer long.
One of my earliest memories is of him standing in the middle of the pool trying to talk me into jumping in so he could catch me. And I remember these awesome orange floats that went on my arms. They were so cool. I’d swim around until I got tired then I’d float with just my head and shoulders out of the water. I never did get tall enough to touch the bottom before we moved into town. Saddest day of my young life when we had to leave that pool behind. And our city yards had no room for even a small one.
I hadn’t been in a pool since – other than one afternoon at a friend’s house a few years ago. I realized then that I was a little bit rusty and spent most of the time in the shallow end. So a couple weeks ago I bought a swimsuit and signed up for swimming lessons. Buying the suit was an adventure in and of itself. I had no idea how hard it would be to find a relatively modest swimsuit. The next adventure was the lessons themselves. I had so much fun. The lady who taught the class was phenomenal. Good at explaining things while making it fun at the same time. The class was actually intended for first-time swimmers, so it covered the basics. Which was perfect. I could swim already, but like I said, never very good. And even that was 20 years ago. The lessons gave me a solid grounding in proper technique.
Someday I dream of having a place in the country where I can put an uber-cool in-ground swimming pool in the back yard. Complete with waterfall and slide. The kind that costs more money than I should spend on something non-essential. I wouldn’t mind living in a tiny little house for a time if that’s what it would take to pay for the pool. Impractical? Probably. Loads of fun? Oh yeah. And absolutely awesome for raising kids. I’m a firm believer in the work hard, play hard philosophy and that’s how I want to raise my kids. There are many things I want them to learn, and how to have fun is one of the big ones. Real fun – good, old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness, outdoor play. I want to give them the same beautiful childhood my parents gave me. And a swimming pool is a big part of that.