Parenting

Slowing down for the autumn season

Jennifer has given up being on time for autumn appointments and hopes that acorns are an acceptable apology.

Gillian plays in the autumn leaves.

One of my kids’ favourite books is Little Boy by Allison McGhee. Told by a father to his son, the book tells an adorable story about a boy and his favourite things: Smelly dogs, animal crackers, climbing trees and a big cardboard box. We bought it for Isaac when he was born and now both kiddos enjoy reading it with us. For all the truisms in the book, the line that always gets me is about how little boys don’t worry or hurry. This can be applied for my own little boy — and girl for that matter.
 
I’ve all but given up trying to get anywhere on time (not that I was punctual to begin with). All of my best efforts and planning ahead are thwarted by caterpillars, sticks, rocks, puddles and now fall leaves. 
 
The days in Ontario’s cottage country have been warm and sunny. With our hot summers and cool falls, our autumn colours are the most beautiful I ever remember them being. This means there are more leaves to pick up off the ground and hide in pant pockets. And the squirrels and chipmunks are in hibernation panic mode, dropping acorns everywhere (meaning more natural treasures that somehow survive the washing machine and dryer). We’ve missed the school bus, been late for appointments and even hours late to pick Mr. P up from the airport after a recent business trip. Our days are spent exploring and gathering and, for me, trying hard to slow down, not to push and hurry my children and find surprise and delight in what I usually take for granted.

Their childhood is rushing by and day by day and I find myself not ready for the new adventures that my kids are more than ready for.

 
So along with apologizing to everyone about how I’ve been late for this autumn, Gillian and Isaac are sharing their crumpled maple leaves with whomever we’ve put behind schedule. And, not surprising, these people are also parents and nod sympathetically when I arrive looking frazzled and frantic. 
 
Enjoy it, they tell me. Because indeed, it does go by too fast.