Autumn is far and away my favorite season. As a nerdy child who actually preferred reading to running outside, I always welcomed the return of school. Once the novelty of being back in school wore off, I loved that fall consisted of multiple "days off," sprinkled throughout the calendar. All of my favorite holidays happen in the fall, most of the things I like to do outside are fall-specific activities, and fall is the season of tall boots and sweater weather. Now that I'm a mom, I notice that parenting in the fall is different than the other seasons, too.
Fall is really rich with opportunities for family traditions big and small, from a big-deal Thanksgiving dinner, to weekly college football rituals. Passing on traditions that make us happy is easily one of the best parts of being a parent, so I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to help our kids feel as excited and happy about this time of year as I do. Especially now that my youngest is a toddler and is better able to participate in things (and can form memories), I get so excited just thinking about all the things he's going to be able to experience for the first time, like actually picking his own apples when we go apple-picking, and getting to play with his own pumpkin when we visit the pumpkin patch.
Of course, fall also features a few unique quirks that require a bit of extra patience and grace as a parent. Fall is itself a season-long transition, and there are also plenty of social and schedule-specific transitions that can be challenging for kids, which in turn is challenging for us as their parents. While fall for parents may not be as simple as fall for kids, there are at least two major advantages to experiencing fall as a grown-up: mulled wine and Oktoberfest. Prost! May your autumn be as sweet as cider, and may your kids actually let you enjoy an extra hour of sleep when Daylight Savings Time ends. (Fat chance, I know.)