Something about the cooler air and changing leaves makes me feel more introspective than usual. It creates a mood, which I like. It brings up nostalgia for school days and youth, and the anticipation of what the next year might bring.
I also really like sweater weather.
Autumn is the best time of year in Michigan. Well, once we get over the fact that the last true beach day has really passed us by. But a fall sunset over Lake Michigan should not be missed, and I plan on seeing a few this month.
We all went for a walk this morning– perfect weather. Now we are settled in with our coffee, hot chocolate, and projects. I’ve got my laptop, Dave is working on some drawings, and Teghan is happily tapping on various parts of a Saved by the Bell Board Game.
The soundtrack? The Zombies….Odessey and Oracle. For some reason this record just sounds better in the early days of fall. No reason. Maybe I first liked it in October or something. I will also watch Amityville Horror at least once this month, and start drinking caramel apple cider again. It’s all part of a kind of brainwashing that doesn’t really offend me.
Speaking of first loves in October, this is also the time of year that I first fell for my husband, Dave. And I am married to the coolest guy I know. I don’t mean that in a sweet, greeting card sort of way. I mean, I actually don’t know anyone who is cooler than my husband.
We met because of music, and because I couldn’t possibly wait another second to get out of my house. So in 1994, at the age of eighteen, I ran off to join a bizarre touring musical group.
Bizarre doesn’t cover it, but I am not ready to devote the necessary time it would take to accurately describe this unique period in our young lives. So just know– this is how we met. For ten months we traveled the country together with several other young strangers.
When I first met Dave, he made me feel nervous. Not because I was attracted to him, but because he was intimidating. As if his mere presence were a spotlight that constantly revealed how silly I was. It may have been in my head, but that didn’t matter. He was way cooler than me.
He was friendly. He didn’t say much. Probably because he never stopped playing (that beaten up) guitar while having a conversation with you. He was not like the rest of us, but he seemed comfortable in that place. He wasn’t comfortable; but the illusion that a nineteen year old had that much confidence was something to envy.
In the beginning, I don’t think either of us thought we would even be friends. That was okay, but I knew I would just die if this guy thought I was stupid.
The intimidation did not last long. Turns out Dave is also the nicest and most humble man I know. He’s genuine. He can tolerate people and things to a degree I don’t understand. And if you follow my blog, you may recall that he is the most talented person I know, too. So marrying him just made good sense.
When we got married, I was twenty and Dave was twenty-one. We were married for eleven years before Teghan came along. People say a lot of things about the best age to have kids, but I can tell you that being married without children is a fantastic way to spend your twenties.
Now fast forward to our thirties.
I found out I was pregnant three days before Dave had brain surgery for his epilepsy. He missed quite a bit of work that year while on medical leave, and I was making a decent amount of money at the time. So we decided it would be best for him to just quit his day job altogether and become a stay at home dad. He would still work at the studio, and play shows. We had no experience with newborns, so it sounded like a pretty sweet deal for him at the time.
As an extra bonus, this would horrify his family (who had already been forced to accept a married woman working outside of the home). I confess, I am completely thrilled to get judged by them for being a working mother, but Dave has had it a little bit harder. It is unfair to have your immediate family make you feel guilty for choosing to stay home with your child just because you are a man.
You hear about all the missing fathers in the autism community. But if I am being honest, I have to admit that Dave is a better parent than me. He thinks I know things, that I have more answers. Maybe I know better how to comfort Teghan, or what the next decision should be. I may be slightly better with logic (or that might just be a gender thing).
But he does everything.
Dave gets Teghan around for school every morning. He gets her on the bus, and he is there when she comes home. He makes all of her meals. He includes her in his daily activities. He is the reason she can load the dishwasher, pick up her toys, use the potty on her own, and do a hundred other skills she has learned (not from me). Sometimes I direct the plan, but he is always the one to implement the plan. Maybe it’s the manager in me, but I do (secretly) know which one of us gets the short end of the stick most of the time.
Dave has probably changed ten times the diapers I have. He has cleaned up a thousand more messes. He spends his days with a little girl who doesn’t talk, and who gets herself into quite a bit of trouble. He sends me pictures of her during the day, calls me to find out how my day is going, and he makes dinner when I get home. When he went away for a weekend, I had to call him to find out where he kept the pans.
And still, he creates music and/or artwork daily. Without effort or end. I wish I could do that. He never changes, he just gets better. He is still the most interesting person I encounter in life. I couldn’t do this alone. I can never thank him enough for showing up every day. He is seriously the coolest guy I know.
For the nineteenth autumn in a row, and counting.