Ahhh, can you feel that? Folks, it is a balmy 66º right at this moment on my little island. The wind is pretty steady, and the rain has been dripping down all morning. Sure, it’s overcast and somewhat gloomy — but you can feel it. There’s a hint, more than a hint, maybe, of fall in the air. And I am in heaven.
I’m wearing jeans. I’ve got socks on to keep my toes warm. If I sit too long on my couch, I start longing for my Snuggie.
This is my favorite time of year. I love fall so much. The beauty of the changing leaves, the brilliant blue skies against those bright crimson leaves, the tang of woodsmoke floating on the breeze, the chill winds that require a snug jacket. The time of year when it’s pleasant to be outside, when your body isn’t sweating and your skin isn’t crisping under the harsh summer sun, and when you can finally open the windows of your home to sweep out the stuffiness of the air conditioned atmosphere inside.
Call me crazy. I know most of my friends long for the sunny days of summer, but I just can’t do it. It’s probably my contrary nature that makes me love things that others don’t, but I’m okay with that.
This is, however, a bittersweet season. Kurt leaves on deployment at the end of October, leaving me to take care of the house, the kids, and whatever else needs taking care of. Plus it’s the year that Grace finally starts school. It will be so strange having my daughter away from me for six hours a day, considering that she’s been with me almost constantly for the last nearly six years. I’ll miss her, sure… but I’m also so excited for her to be in an environment that I know is going to stimulate her. She’s such a social creature that I know that she’ll do well in school. I don’t think I could ever homeschool her. I know that homeschooled kids have lots of social activities lined up, but I think that Grace is one of those kids that needs to be around others as much as possible. She shines so much in her preschool, and it really brings out the best in her. ME, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as social, and probably would be content to stay at home with me for years to come.
So Grace starts kindergarten, Kurt leaves on deployment… so many changes in such a short time. And once Kurt leaves, the countdown to our move will begin in earnest. That in itself is bittersweet. It may very well be our last move while Kurt’s in the military. He’ll have to retire in six years, so we might have just one more move left. And yet I feel like I haven’t really been anywhere. Just southern Virginia, Washington state, Rhode Island, and back to Virginia in the last ten years. It just doesn’t seem like enough. My one friend is going to Germany next. I only wish I could tag along. I would so love to live in Europe, where any other part of Europe is just a short plane or train ride away. To be able to say, “I think I’ll go to Paris this weekend,” and then make it happen. To have it be as easy as getting to NYC from where I live now. But it’s not to be; it’s not in the cards for us, based on Kurt’s job in the Navy. It’s a lovely castle in the air to dream about, but that’s all it will remain.
It’s been hard not to focus so much on all the endings of things. I realize that there are lots of good things about moving to Virginia, and that there will be many new beginnings. Rhode Island’s been good to us, however, and I really like it here. It’s not just a change of scenery, moving south. It’s also the start of another four years of not having Kurt around. It starts in just a couple of months; our three-year “honeymoon” of having him home every night for dinner, most afternoons for lunch, and every single weekend is just about finished. Soon we’ll be back into the mode of having him gone for weeks and months at a time, long workdays when he is in port, standing duty every six days. It’ll be quite an adjustment, considering I now have two kids to keep me busy.
I know I can do it. It’s just not my favorite part about this whole military life. I’ve been lucky, in that we’ve been able to stay in one place long enough to set down some roots, and that Kurt has been present for the birth of both of his kids. And it’s strange to think that this is probably our last sea tour as well. He may never go to another ship before he retires.
So while I have been eager for the start of my favorite season, I’ve also been dreading it. It’s a weird mixture of feelings. And time marches inexorably on.