Humming Julie Andrew’s famous song during the writing of my previous post has me thinking about some of my favorite things. Not just my favorite necklace (a gift from my husband for Christmas while we were still dating), or favorite food (watermelon), but the simple things in my life that make my heart joyful to just be alive to be able experience them. Here are a few- not in any particular order.
Autumn: I don’t know exactly when my love for Fall began but I do know that many of the reasons that rustling golden leaves, the amber sunlight unique to autumnal afternoons, and the bite of crisp air that stings your cheeks just enough to leave them a little rosy fill me with a sense of peace and optimism are deeply rooted in childhood memories. The beginning of a new school year was always full of anticipation and excitement for a “nerd” like me. (I’ve come to admit that I really love to learn… and that I was fortunate enough to always have my best friend around so I was never bullied or alone in school) Celebrating my September birthday was always a “big deal” in our house and my parents threw many unique parties (which I’ll describe in a later post) for my friends and I. Apple picking was a special family event that typically culminated in donuts, cider and eventually, Mom’s Apple Pie. And then, there was Thanksgiving which, in our house, officially launched the beginning of the Christmas season- and all of the anticipation and merriment associated with Christmas in our house (also to be covered in a later post.)
While my love of Fall began as a child and was nurtured throughout my adolescence, it was during college that I was finally able to admit my full enchantment with the season. It was one chilly evening in early October of my sophomore year when my good friend, Z, asked me to go for a walk with him. As I was already head-over-heals for the guy and was in daily agony over the mystery of whether he returned my affections or not, I was nearly sick from the nerves that set dozens of flighty critters to cavorting in my stomach. Thinking that I could silence the tumult in my belly, I talked for an hour straight as we took the longest walk of our relationship (and I am NOT that talkative of a person!). When I finally exhausted my repetoire of softball stories and had filled Z in on every detail I could think of about my family’s current status in the world, he was finally able to get in more words than a “uh huh.” The following is what happened next:
Z: “Well, should we keep walking? It’s getting kinda chilly…” (we had taken a break from our miles long hike to sit on a bench in the middle of the Arboretum… still my favorite place on our college campus)
E: “Uh, sure.” (nervously trying to think of something- ANYTHING- else to keep blabbing about)
Z: (clearing his throat) “Well, I did bring you out here for a reason tonight and I want to talk to you about something. I guess there is no point in beating around the bush so I’m just going to come out and say it… E, I’ve spent this semester falling in love with you.”
E: (heart pounding, palms immediately sweating, and mind racing for the perfect thing to say to the most wonderful thing my ears had ever heard) “Yay?”
(Yes, I did say it as a question. I was trying to express the fact that I had indeed been falling in love with him but was rather struck dumb by his simple statement and my mind was too muddled with “He’s falling in love with me! He’s fallen in love with me! HE LOVES ME?!” to come up with a more suitable answer to his unspoken question of, “So, do you love me too?” After a moment, my mouth caught up with my brain and…)
E: “That’s a really good thing.”
E: “Yeah, I uh, feel the same way…” (still, very eloquent… I must’ve used all my words in hour long soliqouy earlier!)
Z: (visibly relaxing) “Oh good…”
He went on to explain how he’d been thinking about it a lot and realized that he could be risking our friendship by confessing his feelings if they weren’t reciprocated but after talking with his dad (his go-to guy for advice) he decided to take the chance. (I’m sure glad he did!) We started to walk back to my dorm as he gently asked, “So, can I hold your hand?” Grinning, I pulled my left hand from deep inside my vest pocket (that vest is another one of my favorite things!) and as our fingers inter-laced, my love for him, and for Fall, were forever linked. Now, every October brings back the thrill and excitement of our first few weeks together and reminds me of how it felt to fall in love him for the very first time.
So, yeah, I love Fall. A lot.
Campfires: They say that our sense of smell is the strongest trigger of memories. I believe “them.” The woodsy, smoky smell of a campfire will always carry me back to innumerable times around a small fire pit with my family and melting marshmallows on the end of shaved tree branches on one of our many camping vacations, or to our fire pit in our own backyard around which high school friends would talk until the wee hours of the morning, or large bonfires at church camp where a counselor would strum his guitar and a hundred middle-schoolers would sing together before bed. There is just something about sitting around a campfire and talking (or singing) that will always be one of my all time favorite things to do. (Maybe it’s because they are extra perfect during the FALL…)
Christmas: I need another post to fully explain all of the things I love about Christmas (and it’s NOT just the presents!)… especially since I already shared my “how my husband asked me out” story in this one.
Reading: If I could spend all day, every day reading and not feel guilty about not doing anything else in life, I probably would. I read my first “Chapter Book” in first grade when I was jealous that my best friend got to sit at the teacher’s desk and read them while the rest of us sat on the floor and had reading lessons. When I shared my feelings with my mom, she handed me “The Boxcar Children” and after just reading the first page, I could hardly sleep because of my excitement over the whole new world that was open to me in “Chapter Books.” I never looked back… and I’ve never stopped reading.
Being Married: Again, I do not have the time, energy, or space to share all of the things that I love about married life but some quick highlights would have to be: waking up next to my best friend every morning and starting off every day with plenty of hugs and kisses, knowing that no matter what is on our schedules each day, that we will end the day with each other, and feeling constantly encouraged and supported in all of my endeavors no matter how frustrated or burnt-out I may feel. I hope that no matter how many years you have been married, you still feel the joy of being with your spouse!
I have probably written enough for one night… if you’re reading this, what are some of your favorite things? What makes YOUR heart sing and fills you with joy? I hope your list is long!