Did I ever mention how much I dearly love Autumn? It's my favorite season. Which, if you think about it, is kind of strange for a person who has struggled with Depression her whole life. But, I just can't help it. No other season SMELLS and FEELS the way Autumn does. PLUS, Autumn is really just a segue way into the Holidays. I've noticed that I'm happiest when I have something to look forward to.
In the past, I used to think the GETTING of or the ARRIVAL of a thing or event was IT. But, now that I'm older (and clearly much wiser), I've realized that it's the ANTICIPATION that I enjoy most. That's part of the reason I'm a "planner". Don't get me wrong, I can spontane as much as, or better than the next gal. But I like to plan things because then I get to savor the anticipation.
As a kid growing up, we didn't have much money. In fact, it's amazing that we had Christmas gifts at all. But, not HAVING never stopped me from DREAMING. What Christian child hasn't spent hours in contemplation over the all-important Christmas Wish List? Just as it was then, I relish the time spent dreaming more than the actual THING itself.
That's one of the main reasons I think I love Autumn so much. When the leaves start to fall, and the wind turns cool, it's a signal that the Holidays (filled with parties, shopping, gifts, family time, and a general increase in human decency) are just around the corner. Who couldn't love that?
I'm also appreciative of Autumn because for Americans, the Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated. As we take time to reflect on the many blessings that have been afforded us as a nation, as families, and individuals, our hearts can't help but expand. It often appears that nowadays many tend toward building up a personal armor to avoid showing any inkling of vulnerability (convinced that being open will result in being taken advantage of, financial ruin, or lack of respect). However, with the onset of Autumn, and the ensuing Holiday Season, people's hearts seem to soften and grow warmer. Friendships are rekindled and family bonds are renewed. There is nothing more important in life than this.
With that being said, I'm thankful for my family. My dad passed away in September. It's not that I was especially close to my dad. I loved him. He was my dad. I understood him, because I am like him. More than anything, I was happy to see him go because I understand the certain misery that comes from being stuck in a sick body. He was sick for a long time. The upcoming winter weather would have been even harder on him. I'm glad he was freed from his mortal prison and no longer has to face the sickness, sadness, pain, and loneliness that often come with being elderly and alone.
With my dad's passing, our family was reunited twice within 2 months: once in September at his passing and again in October, for his simple, yet beautiful memorial at the lake. As a family of highly independent thinkers, in the past, we've often had disagreements. It could be said that we argue simply for the sake of arguing. We all enjoy a good debate. Sometimes, however, those debates have been taken a little too far and feelings have inevitably been hurt.
As my mother and siblings gathered to discuss the business of death (because, with all the decisions to be made, it DOES feel that way sometimes), I was worried that there would be contention -- too many varying opinions. To my wonder, we all genuinely got along. Everyone behaved kindly, respectfully, and even maturely in deciding the WHAT and WHEN and HOW. While there were a few diverging thoughts, it seemed that all were on their best behavior to be accommodating; to get along as best as possible.
I've heard of families being torn apart by death. If anything, I think my family became closer and stronger going through this together. I have new-found respect for my siblings, even my "littlest" brother. At 25, my baby brother amazes me with his strength of character and gentle heart. He understands things in a way that most men never do. He speaks few words, but when he does, they are gems. I regard and respect him, as with many other of my siblings. My mom continues to be a pillar of strength and admiration.
I'm thankful for a strong, opinionated, passionate, caring family. I love when we are together. I get to behold amazing qualities in those around me. Though it's not ALWAYS rainbows, unicorns, and sunshine, I am filled with gratitude for their love, support, and strength of character.