On How It’s Fall, Again

Fall has come to Chicago, and with it comes reminders of autumns past. We went to Ohio last weekend and the day we left it was just another in a string of 80 degree August afternoons. When we returned summer had come to an abrupt end. The nights and mornings have turned cool, all of us pulling on long-sleeved shirts and turning our faces to the breeze and it pushes through the screens in the afternoon.

And with each waft of fall air I am flooded with memories. My first semester of college in Vermont. Starting Mrs. Snell's class in 4th grade in Destin. October weekends in Manhattan, as I walked up 9th street to my evening classes at The New School. My senior year of high school, nostalgic already for those last days slipping so carelessly by. And now a new memory: The first fall I spent being pregnant.

It was two years ago this week that Veronica was conceived. Summer was just coming to a close and it seemed impossible that I was really pregnant. Even though it wasn't something entirely unexpected, how do you ever really believe that there is suddenly another life growing inside you?

All that fall I came home early from work, exhausted and swimming with a dull nausea. And each afternoon I curled into a corner of the couch, pulling my knees to my chest and drifting to sleep as the light faded from the windows, waking only when Greg arrived home from work.

I thought a lot about my mother in those first weeks. Wondered what pregnancy had been like for her. If she had been scared or nervous, like I was, about becoming a mother. I wondered if she had been tired like me, what her cravings and aversions had been. Each morning when I thirsted for grapefruit juice, I wondered if she had done the same. I wanted so badly to be able to ask her these things.

But as fall gave way to winter, my pregnancy shifted and I regained my balance. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and each day as my belly began to swell, I felt a little stronger. And now it's hard to believe that it was Veronica in there. That my beautiful little daughter, who at this moment is asleep in her crib, was forming arms and legs, a set of lungs and a tiny beating heart. That she was already her, and that I already loved her. 

Two years later and I feel exactly the same and also like a completely different person. How is that possible?

I have no idea. But I do know that each fall in my life has brought with it a chance to reinvent, to start over, or to give new energy to what is already there. This month is no different. There is a tingle in my abdomen when I wake up in the morning now, a slight hint that I am on a precipice, that I am gazing out into a new abyss, that it only requires a step forward to shift everything.

Cow gazing


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