I love the fall. I mean, I love it. What’s not to love about PSL season? The clothes are cuter, and the weather is perfection. I’ve never met a pumpkin I didn’t want to bring home to grace my front porch. Give me all the apple cider. I’ve got fall photos on the books. My family’s carefully coordinated warm-toned outfits have been hanging in my closet ready for weeks now. The candles in my house have names like “cozy fireside.” At the first hint of a chill in the air, I tossed out my summery lemon and fruit scented hand soap. I replaced them with scents like cranberry and apple and, for some reason, pound cake.
Fall is my jam.
If I’m being honest, I’m a huge fan of winter, too. We don’t get a lot of snow here in Nashville, but “a tender Tennessee is the only Christmas for me.” There’s no better feeling than when it’s so cold outside that walking through your very own front door feels like a warm hug. The day after Thanksgiving, I transition my apples and pumpkins into snowmen and reindeer in two seconds flat.
For lots of people, the dark, cold days of fall and winter are just the price we have to pay so we can enjoy all the comfy, familiar, beautiful parts.
Not for me.
I absolutely love the cold, dark days. Some people might call them dreary or depressing. I call them calming and comforting. I like to crack the windows and curl up under a comfy blanket. Add a little rain?
I think I grew to love all the different kinds of fall weather because I have so many positive associations with the season. Fall brings Halloween. My anniversary is in October. Growing up, November was the month of a million family birthdays (including mine!)—and therefore a million reasons to get together with my whole family! My first baby came along in November, too. Rain or shine, dreary and dark, or bright and warm, the fall was always going to be full of family and love and togetherness.
And then, of course, there’s Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite days of the year, second only to Christmas, the highlight of my winter.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a sunny day. Who isn’t a fan of sunshine?! But sunny days make me feel like I should be out making the most of it. I don’t want to curl up on my couch on a sunny day with hot tea and good book. Sunshine is for running errands, playing outside with my kids, opening the windows, and getting shit done.
I realize that my ability to take in stride these seasons with decreased sunshine, extra darkness and no warm days is not possible for everyone. For some people, this season can be really hard. Seasonal affective disorder is a very real type of depression. I am not at all suggesting that if the shorter days and lack of sunshine make it harder for you to function at your best that you can just look on the bright side with me. My list of reasons why I love this weather doesn’t negate your completely valid feelings that fall and winter are a tough time. If you are just trying to make it back through this season to the sunshine of spring, I see you.
But these dark, cold days make me feel like I can rest. They remind me to take a break from my constant need to be productive. With three kids, it’s easy to feel like I should spend every single minute of my life getting ahead of everything. There is always laundry. There are always dishes. If I look hard enough, I can always find something I need to do. My anxiety disorder sometimes tells me that if I rest, it will pile up, and I will never get it all done.
For some reason, when I wake up and see that sun is hiding behind a cloud, it makes me feel like I have permission to hide a little bit, too. It gives me permission to slow down.
If I’m ever going to let my kids take a mental health day, it’s going to be on one of these cool, dark mornings. Once in a while, my mom did the same for me, and I always loved it. There’s nothing better than waking up and hearing, “Go back to bed. You’re staying home today.”
Since I became a mom, my life feels like sensory overload. Someone is always touching me, making noise, or waving something brightly-colored in my face. Even my nose has to be on high alert, making sure nobody has any pressing needs. A bright, warm day just shines a bright light on all of that chaos.
A nice cool, dark day gives my anxious mind a chance to lay it all aside, and sometimes that’s exactly what I need.