Fall is definitely here, and it's usually a little bittersweet for me. The idea of having to bundle up, shovel snow, worry about the heat in the house, these things always weigh on my mind. On the upside, there's that first crisp morning walking to catch the bus, when I flash back to all those 'first day of school' mornings. I always loved the little thrill I'd get, waiting to see who was in my class, what teachers I'd have, where would my locker be. New notebooks and backpacks, new school clothes, the potential for a great year.
At home, fall also meant that the cooking would change; less grilling, more roasting. Things in the oven, with onions, making the house smell delicious. Baking resumed in earnest, and we'd spend more Sundays over my grandmothers, where she'd make fricot (an Acadian soup/stew that's so simple it should be illegal, and so good that you'll never forget it once you've had it).
This morning, the lunch carts were setting up outside the lab, and someone was cooking with onions and bean pork. And it smelled like my grandmother's kitchen, with fricot on the stove on a Sunday after our first few days of school. It felt like I'd run full-tilt into a brick wall.
And I cried.
We still have the house. My brother is settling in, and I hope someday his girlfriend will move in too. But it won't ever smell the same. We'll never have a dinner there again in the same way. My grandmother is settling in well in long-term care, and it's so obvious that she should've been there ages ago, but it kills me.
When I went to the house over the summer, to check things out before J. moved in, things had been cleaned up and organized, but most of her possessions had not been taken out. They'd rounded them up so we could go through them - she had lots of sewing and needlework items, and some beautiful vintage dresses.
Everything fit into one room.
Her entire life, almost 50 years in that house, could be reduced to one room.
How does that happen?
I'm trying to create new traditions for my family, and we're realizing that we don't all have to live in the same city to be close, but I wonder sometimes - by creating traditions, am I just making things harder on everyone else down the line? It's a no-win situation, I guess.
*sigh* Sometimes I wish I was fifteen again, worried about the perfect hairstyle for the fall dance, and how I could convince my parents to let me go to the movies with boys, and whether I'd be able to go to the movies on Friday.
And then I look at N. and think, yup. This is all worth it.