Ah this, my favorite season.  Season of hope and sadness.  Always, season of beginning and ending.  The Jewish New Year.  The Days of Awe. 

I think back to falls of the past few years.  Fall of 2005.  I was deep into my third trimester of pregnancy…excited and anxious and innocent as could be.  Safe and secure in the shelter of marriage, the promise of family, a new home purchased, trips to Ikea to buy furniture and a new kitchen.  I reeked of “normalcy.”

Fall of 2006.  The marriage implodes.  My ex terrorizes me, then moves out.  I wonder if I can survive alone in the house with my nine month old baby.  I remember being being petrified with fear when it got dark, earlier and earlier as the fall wore on.  I was certain someone would come in and kill me and my baby.  I felt so vulnerable, so alone.  I began an on-again, off-again affair with my husband, trying desperately to save a sinking ship.

Fall of 2007.  I am no longer afraid to be alone in the house with my son.  I’ve rented out our basement now, to help with the mortgage.  I am still holding on to a thin thread of hope that the marriage might survive.  I am 90 lbs thinner than fall of 2006.  I don’t know my own body.  I hope I can hold on to my ex through sex, through my new, size 2 frame, but he is only more and more repulsed.  In November, he tells me that he has found another.  I sink along with the ship.

Fall of 2008.  I am slowly but surely making my way through the legacy of these past autumns.  Now I am on my own, triumphant.  For the first time in years, I am financially independent.  I have gained just a little weight back and feel healthier in my body.  I can focus on things other than my separation and divorce.  Like the election.  I have started to read the news again, to read novels, to read memoirs, to become interested in the outside world.  I am emerging out of my dark night, into the dawn of something…but I don’t know what.  And that’s ok.

Fall of 2008.  Sami and I are a family of two.  We are complete.  We are whole.  A dynamic duo.  It’s a wonder.  We are surviving, and maybe even thriving. 

Tonight, I am still exhausted.  But I feel centered, ready for whatever this fall might bring.  For the first time in two years, I am more filled with gratitude than resentment. 

“Look at me!” declares Sami at the playground, throwing crimson leaves into the air.  I join him, trying not to cry, because he is saying that thing that big boys say. 

“Look at me!”

Look at us, making leaves fall like rain. 

We’re beautiful.