Autumn Tradition


There’s not an emoji for how I am currently feeling, right this second. My family had great fun on Halloween making memories with some amazing family and friends, but as I sit at my computer, looking out at the changing leaves, hearing the rush of the brisk wind causing my house to creek and shift bringing inevitable cold, I feel a bit melancholic* (*it could really be sugar detox, but let’s go with melancholic for now).

Being born and raised in WI means I love fall and the beauty that comes with it; there’s not a crayon in the world to capture the reds, oranges, yellows, and greens in their livelihood during autumn in Wisconsin. In my heart though, there is always a bit of sadness attached to witnessing the last few beautiful leaves drop to the ground. (Want to take a drive and see more of the beautiful colors?  Check out Guide to Fall Colors)

This melancholic feeling is reciprocated when I relive old photos in my Timehop on social media accounts. My kids are growing before my eyes, and I love our traditions, but for the love of Father Time, how can I make him slow things down!?

Something that makes me feel a little better during a juxtapositional season like autumn (besides another calorie-filled candy bar), is seeing my kids get excited for a tradition we’ve put in place for longer than they can remember. If you can connect with anything I’ve expressed so far, join me and make sure you are making your own traditions too- you will be glad you did.

An autumn tradition that my family has been doing since my children were babies is their annual leaf picture. It’s as simple as it sounds. We rake leaf piles resembling the numbers of our kids’ ages and let them pose as their silly selves next to the piles.

To date, we’ve accumulated nine photos of my son, this year will be the tenth (ugh, pass me a peanut butter cup) and seven of my daughter (this year will be her eighth–skittles, please). I took a photo a couple of years ago of my twenty-ninth…and I’m keeping it there; I am pausing time darn it, and you can’t stop me… Lol.

It’s incredibly simple and satisfying to have these pictures of my kids through the years, and it also reminds me to keep them active in our yard work too–I kid you not, they ask me if they can rake their own leaf piles, and I smile ear to ear in jubilation. I don’t know if that’s exactly reverse psychology, but I definitely won’t ever complain if they want to rake.

Autumn is such a special season because it teaches us about the complexity of life. There’s extreme beauty around us, but there’s sadness and death too, as the leaves drop and trees go dormant. To fully experience all of autumn, it’s ok to feel melancholic at times, just be sure to balance it out with celebration and joy of what happened and what’s to come.

Looking ahead, my family’s next traditions will be to hang our Christmas lights outside, decorate our Christmas tree, make snow creatures outdoors, and more.

Maybe this year we will begin a new tradition. If I’m lucky, it’ll be, “Everyone picks up their belongings without being told,” or “I won’t complain about supper ever again.” Regardless of whatever tradition may be born, thinking about my family’s current traditions helps me look ahead to predictability while getting a warm hug from memories of the past with my family. Warm hugs help everything a wise snowman once said so (iykyk).

That melancholic, emoji-less feeling I was having earlier seems to have dissipated. Perhaps it was post-holiday syndrome. Whatever it was, I’m glad you were there to help me work through it. I believe there’s a positive to find in almost every situation; live life, be kind, take tons of guilt-free pictures, and absolutely, without fail– eat your children’s Halloween candy. Happy Fall to All!