My friend A and I aren’t fans of the fall.
People are all pumpkin spice this and pumpkin pie that! Flannels and tall boots! Pumpkin picking and apple picking and scented candles and the crisp air. Isn’t this where the basic bitch came from? She reigns queen in autumn. The fall has become a state of mind, which means it’s on kitschy signs and kitchen towels.
A and I joke about this season. We can’t wait until we can say “Happy Winter, Y’all!” No one says this but me and A, probably. No one really likes winter. The two of us, we sort of do. Winter closes the chapter on all things hayride and PSLs. You can’t go to the Hallmark Store and buy a Happy Winter, Y’all! wooden sign for your mantel.
Why don’t we like fall? We both lost our sons in October. It gets darker earlier. It’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I happened to lose both of my grandparents in October. We both agree that fall can take it and shove it.
The arrival of the winter solstice isn’t always wonderful, let’s be clear. It gets darker even earlier. The holidays are near. Everyone is celebrating, and I sometimes find myself wondering what for.
My return date to work after my maternity leave with Hank was early December. I’d drive home from work in the dark, the wreaths on the lampposts with jaunty bows shining in the light. This time every year, the wreaths in West Chester cross my mind. I’m reminded how I felt that December of 2012.
Longwood Gardens is thirty minutes from my house. My family has a membership and we use it a lot. Around the holidays, it’s especially crowded. Lights and music, spiked drinks, and large displays of the finest in holiday horticulture. I’ve been once.
As much as I want to be immersed in a magical, twinkling light of a night, I’m afraid that I’ll just be sad. I’d need to go into the evening with someone who gets all of this. Someone who knows that it’s both beautiful and bitter at the same, and someone who can hand me another cup of rum and hot cider and make me feel like Anne, a mom who hasn’t lost her baby.
I’m going to message A now and tell her that we have to hang in there until spring. The season of newness, rebirth, and fittingly the time of year our rainbow baby girls were born. Life comes back, we get a second chance at whatever we need.
Maybe spring is when we will both be happy with the season. And maybe next year, she and I will go to Longwood in the winter, mixing mulled wine and memories as we count down to March 20.