My dear husband and I went to my new favorite place on the farm the other day. It is back past the Home House (a really old house that used to be the farm house), past the orchards, and through a pasture or two. From this spot, you can see down the road, some of the neighbors’ houses and land, and an old cemetery. These days you can also see all the colors of the leaves as they change with the seasons. Ever since college, I have been in love with changing leaves. The red ones have always been my favorite: they are so bright and beautiful.
I have always claimed fall as my favorite season, but this fall is unlike any other I have experienced. It is strange to not be in school or have my dear husband in school. I no longer have to coordinate fall festivals with homework or Thanksgiving plans with paper writing. I am also learning about fall traditions in my new home. There are some familiar ones– pumpkin patches, Halloween, fall festivals– and some new ones– Stew, wood stoves, and apple orchards.
My dear husband has to explain to me cultural elements that he didn’t realize were regional. He also has had to explain various methods of heating a house and how they all work. (I can swim, survive a summer of constant 90% humidity, and navigate Disney World without a map, but the intricacies of heating a house are completely lost on this Florida girl). I think we’ll be starting a fire in the wood stove soon and I know it is time and past time for me to get out that box of winter clothes I put away in May.
It is getting to be time for our own family traditions too. November 5 is fast approaching, followed by Thanksgiving, a weekend of rivalry football, Advent, and then Christmas. (But not until after Thanksgiving. I’m looking at you, Christmas decorations in every retail store already). There are definitely some traditions from Texas I will miss, but those that we can carry on, I sure as heck will.
I visited the pumpkin patch with my sister-in-law and nieces and nephew the other day. While there, my sister-in-law was trying to convince her girls to pick a pumpkin from the store instead of riding the hay ride (it was late, everyone was tired, and a hay ride did not seem like the best idea at the time…). My oldest niece said, “But Mom! It’s our tradition! We can’t break our tradition. We do it every year!” At that, my sister-in-law and I both laughed and piled everyone onto the hay ride. I gave my niece a hug and told my sister-in-law that I couldn’t help but side with my niece on this one.
So here we are: building new traditions and observing old ones. Saying good-by to some and inventing reasons for new ones. This is how I feel stable and at home. This is how my dear husband and I build our family. This is how I learn about my new home and my dear family-in-law. Building a family and feeling at home is hard work. But if it can involve making new traditions and observing old ones, I’m all in.