I don't know if it's just us, but right now our kitchen counter is clogged with preventatives and remedies for the illnesses and ailments that seem to plague us this time of year --antibiotics for strep throat and sinus infection, analgesics for fever and aches and allergy medication for itchy noses and sneezes. There's also vitamins and zinc drops, decongestants and throat lozenges, all of which our family seems to be downing on a daily basis. I think the season of Autumn should be renamed, the "Medicine Months."
I used to like Fall. In fact, for as long as I can remember, Autumn has been my favorite season. My birthday is at the end of September, and that has always been an important reason for my love of the season. Each Fall I look forward to bonfires and hiking, and rescuing my scarves and wool sweaters from their hibernations in my cedar chest. Of course, like everyone else, I also enjoy the changing leaves, the cooling temperatures, making a gooey mess carving pumpkins and afterwards, roasting the pumpkin seeds under a thick layer of seasoned salt. And after all, what's not to like about candy corns, the beginning of football season and the smell of beef stew simmering on the stove?
But lately I have received little enjoyment from these once-anticipated Fall milestones. This year I have been too sick to appreciate them. My nose is too stuffy to smell the stew. My eyes are too itchy to see the beauty of the trees. My throat is too sore to binge on sugary Halloween treats. The hay rides make me sneeze.
Between back-to-school viruses and infections that my children and I have picked up at school, and the infamous Fall Allergy Season (dum-dum-dum), Autumn has become a miserable, un-fun, season-I-wish-I-could-skip-over for my family and me.
As a child I used to look forward to going back to school, getting to know my new teacher, reconnecting with old friends and shopping for pencil cases, backpacks, shoes and sweaters. I remember feeling the coldness of the monkey bars under my finger tips on the playground and hearing the crunch-crunch of leaves underneath my rubber tires riding my bike through the neighborhood. My family would often go camping in the fall, and I still cherish those memories around the campfire, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and singing Puff the Magic Dragon to my dad's acoustic guitar. I'll never forget my favorite Halloween costume, the homemade astronaut suit constructed out of cardboard boxes, a motorcycle helmet and aluminum dryer hoses.
I want my boys to have happy memories of this time of year someday, too. But right now my two year-old looks more like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer than the Dalmatian puppy we plan to dress him up as in a few weeks for Halloween. My four year-old's glands have been swollen for so long I am not sure I can remember what his normal voice sounds like. I'm afraid my boys' Fall memories will be of gummy vitamins and grape-flavored Tylenol, not stuffing and sweet potato casserole.
So dear friends, I am officially renouncing my love of The Medicine Months. I am claiming Summer as my new favorite season.
Now, can someone point me in the direction of the pool?