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“It’s Fall, Y’all”

A shift in the weather brings a change in decor (and a burst of autumnal enthusiasm) to our house.

I’m a lifelong introvert — a card-carrying triple “M” threat: moody, melancholy musician. So naturally my favorite season is fall. The chilly, overcast days. The earthy brown and orange colors. I’m in my happy place, or the introverted equivalent… maybe my unbothered place.

Meanwhile, my wife Laurie loves homemaking, specifically decorating. She welcomes each new season as a fresh opportunity for decorations. A common dialogue between the two us might go:

Laurie: Honey, I decorated! Did you notice?

Me (in a monotone voice): Sure. I noticed.

Laurie: Well, you didn’t say anything. What do you think?

Me: Yeah. I like it.

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In our newlywed days, she might then break down into tears. But over the last 15 years of marriage, we’ve made some adjustments. She knows I’m never going to gush, and I know I need to show some enthusiasm.

During those almost 15 years, we’ve had four kids. And in our youngest, Laurie has found a kindred spirit. Jasmine, now six, has been our Little Miss Hospitality since we can remember. From the youngest age, she loved using kitchen toys. She has multiple ovens and microwaves, and countless little food pieces. And she loves making everyone pretend meals. She loves drawing pads, crayons, markers, and making decorations.

When Laurie returns home from shopping, Jasmine knows there’s a fifty percent chance Mom got her something. Jasmine can hear the garage door opening and screams, “Mommy’s home!” She runs to the back door and waits to hear the magic words:

“Jasmine?!”

“YES!!!”

“Look what I got.”

Laurie whips out a new kitchen toy. “MOMMY!!!”

Laurie smiles at me, knowing I’m about to tell her she already has too much. “It was on clearance,” she tells me.

Jasmine overhears, “Mommy?! You got this on sale?! You’re a genius!!!”

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We hear (and talk) a lot about the struggles associated with ADHD. But one thing I don’t hear much is how much fun the hyperactivity can be. I notice all the terrific stuff Laurie does, but I’m no good at showing excitement. Jasmine more than makes up for that.

Earlier this week, Laurie decorated for fall while the kids were at school. She spent hours cleaning, putting away summer decor, and setting out fall decor, most of which she bought on clearance last year in the post-season. Then she baked cookies. I was working from home and had stepped out for a few hours to work from the coffee shop. So I came home to a pumpkin cube in the scentsy, fresh chocolate cookies in a pumpkin-shaped cookie jar, and a decked-out house.

“You did so good, Honey,” I said. Another adjustment I’ve learned to focus on a few key details. “I love what you did on the fireplace and the mantle.”

“Thank you, Honey,” she said.

“I don’t recognize a lot of these decorations. Are these new?”

“Yep, I got them on clearance last year.”

“Wow, good job!”

I ate a cookie, then I set up my laptop and logged back in. A little while later, Laurie picked up the kids from school. I heard the garage door open, and then Jasmine’s chatter from the garage. Then she came in the house.

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“MOMMY!!! IT’S FALL!!!”

“Yep! Mommy decorated,” Laurie said.

Jasmine ran throughout the house, rapidly taking in each room with increasing excitement. “MOMMY, LOOK AT THE FIREPLACE! MOMMY, LOOK AT THE PIANO! MOMMY, YOU MADE COOKIES!”

While I try to show authentic enthusiasm, I have to admit some of it is forced. But when I observe Jasmine’s reaction to everything as she takes in every detail (MOMMY, I’VE NEVER SEEN THIS DECORATION BEFORE!! IS THIS NEW?! DID YOU BUY THIS ON SALE?!), I can’t help but feel genuine excitement. My favorite season is here. And with Jasmine’s love of everything, I definitely can’t wait for the holiday season.

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