I’m five and heading off to Harris Elementary School to meet Miss. Thompson.

I’m eleven and figuring out what separation and divorce really mean.

I’m thirteen and poring over Seventeen Magazine, devouring how Jennifer Connelly, fresh off Labyrinth, is mixing plaid and tweed.

I’m fifteen with butterflies thinking this is the year I’ll stop being awkward.

I’m eighteen and leaving for Spain.

It never fails, when autumn blows that first, faint kiss at late summer, my knees go weak, my heart opens wide and I am reminded of how this transition always pulses in a way others don’t. My delight in the first snowfall is sweet, as is my relief when the ice finally melts. Spying the first crocus is exciting, but it’s only with fall that the air crackles.

Barely a month from now Avery will head off to kindergarten, she is actively pushing away from me when I say things, contradicting, correcting or begrudgingly admitting that, “Maybe we’re both a little right.” Briar is chirping about “best friends” and wondering about life as a sibling on the school yard. Finley will got back to the pre-school, but she’ll do it without diapers or a sister.

I feel a calmness, simliar to labor, knowing that what is ahead will come regardless of how I respond. Easing into the waves, whispers though they still are, is the only way to be more a part of the newness than the death. We’ve passed a winter, spring and summer to arrive at this crossroads and it is with utter equanimity that I reflect upon what they’ve held and the preparedness with which they launch us into the season ahead.

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
~John Donne