I can see my breath as I trudge up the hill holding a little girl's hand in each of mine. It's not quite light outside, but they still chatter at me about school and all that they are looking forward to doing today. Our feet crunch through the dead leaves on the cement as we walk, reminding me of everything I love about October.
Except, I've never known any October here.
For all of my childhood I lived in the same city, and most of it in the same house. The same house where my parents have now lived for 30 years. It was familiar, it was welcoming, it was home. Octobers for me meant college football and Halloween preparation. It meant Mt. Timpanogos on fire with red, yellow and orange. It meant sitting by the fire that my dad built to have Family Home Evening. It meant a lot of things, and year after year those things were the same. I counted on them.
And that's what I wanted for my own children. A place to call home--to feel settled. To know what to expect every October and to love it like I did.
So far, Bria has spent Octobers at two different homes in Provo, in Arizona, Cedar City and now here. That's a lot of homes for someone who is just barely turning 9 years old. This is Chloe's fourth home, and technically, Sophia's third, although we only lived in Arizona for 3 more weeks after her birth. I haven't yet given my children that stability that I enjoyed and needed as a child.
And I myself have felt so unsettled in each of those homes. Joel was still in school for much of that time, and we knew we would have to move on for yet another degree and then, when school was finally finished, a job. But that first job never felt permanent. We still felt unsettled.
But as I listen to my daughters telling me about the popcorn sale at school, I realize I don't feel that way anymore. Everything feels so right about this place. I have a feeling we'll be enjoying many Octobers to come. We'll still have college football, and Halloween. We might not have a burning Timp, but no matter! Our entire neighborhood will soon be ablaze with fall colors. And we can all cuddle up together for Family Home Evening by the fires that Joel will build.
I wait with the girls for the bus to come, and watch them happily board, eager to get to school. I linger a little longer to see the bus round the corner, and then I turn to walk back home.
After more than ten years, I finally feel settled.