A week ago I bought three mums, brought them home and stashed them in a corner on the front porch. Definitely not ready to uproot summer's blooms from my pretty concrete pot, even though they are now dingy and faded and revealing the truth: summer, my favorite season, is pretty much gone.
I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day and she said she was heading out shortly to find a fall wreath for her front door. This bit of news made me smile. For one thing, she's in Florida and, to quote one of my favorite writers - a true Southerner, Rick Bragg, September meant that summer was well and truly dead. It was still hot as seven hells outside. The other reason I smiled was because in that exact moment, pulling up to Sully's school, I had a revelation about myself. I am a holder. I was suspicious of this fact after going back and reading past blog posts of mine. All this writing about motherhood has shown me a pattern in myself. I scan back and back. I am pretty sure I have been this way - perhaps forever now that I think about it.
I think back to when I was a kid. Surely, my grandma - who also lived in Florida - would have a fall wreath on her door by the fourteenth day of September. Sunday's suppers at her house of barbeque chicken, green salad, slices of sweet, juicy, dripping watermelon would now be replaced with roast beef, thick gravy, perfectly whipped mashed potatoes, apple cake with a bourbon glaze. No matter that it was still hot outside and all us kids could think about was getting to the pool and swimming til the sun went down.
I am sure now that there are two sides of my need to hold. The side that wants to suck every juicy bite out of this life, and then savor it long after before saying, Okay, I've had enough. Time to move on. Then there is the other side, the side that, if I get really honest with myself, is paralyzed with fear. Fear of stepping forward, because no matter how much sweet marrow exists in life, if something traumatizing has happened to you, you get stuck there a little bit, even if you're not aware. Moving forward feels like picking up your heavy, scared boulder-of-a-heart and getting on.
But I've long since been getting on. In fact, I think I've been doing this forever, too. I have an abundance of goodness in my life that far outweighs the bad - the old. I taste this goodness every time I eat meat, gravy, and potatoes. Every time I dice apples and throw them in a pot on the stove to slow simmer with spices for my kiddos. I feel it when my mom tells me she's readying for a new season, even if the climate is seven hells hot outside, and when I feel so close to my sister even though we are some five hundred miles apart while chatting over the phone on weekend mornings, our husbands each circling us with the are you ever going to get off the phone eye, as we chat about current recipes, things our grandma made, what our boys are up to.
I'm not quite ready to say to anyone, and so what about pumpkin this and braised that... but soon. Here I hold. I did discard those tired out plants yesterday and potted three fresh mums.