Two days ago and three days from now

Chestnuts roasting, yellow flowers blooming, sandals, winter coats, cold ale, warm chili…this has been fall for us here in Maryland. You guessed it, and can probably even relate; it’s been a total mind-bender. One thing I’ve loved about living here, until this year, in fact, has been the cool, crisp consistency of fall. It has beaten 75-80 degree fall weather in Georgia by 1,000 miles. For me, at least.

I want to feel the chill brewing before the first fall of snow. I want the giddiness of needle-woven hats in the morning before they become annoying and itchy from too much wear. To feel some enjoyment that I need thick socks before it’s January 29, and I can’t find a clean pair anywhere. Before I become dry and bitter from extended cold, ready to crunch beneath someone’s foot like a dirty icicle.

I need the transition, the ease that fall offers. But why I am I whining about this. I am not sure. I think it’s because yesterday my family was in short sleeves, and tonight I drove by front lawns already adorned with Christmas lights. Halloween was exactly one week ago, by the way.

It’s a little like going from 34 to 42 overnight. That’s just how fast it goes, folks. Oops. I am actually almost 43, to be honest. And it feels like jumping from a Halloween costume into Christmas morning within mini-seconds. How did we get here? And why is it 74 degrees? (Not exactly how that last part relates, but stay with me.)

I have been putting together a syllabus for a literature class I am teaching this spring; this process is literally bringing color back to my world that I didn’t know was missing. Perusing through the textbook has been a stroll down memory lane. Two days ago, I was sitting in literature class with Dr. Waxman and Dr. Aegerter. They were bringing out the writer I always knew was inside me. I was reading Anne Bradstreet, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath in their classrooms. We were dissecting Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, and Amy Tan, relatively new authors on the scene back then, barely accepted into the modern literary canon. And now, those voices are printed in my textbook, as if they’d been there all along, former supplemental reading books in Ethnic and American Literature classes back in my college days; you know, all two days ago and all.

I am waking up from a twenty-year long sleep, only I wasn’t sleeping. I was living all that time, growing, loving, breaking rules and hearts, bearing witness to the ache and agony of being alive. And I suppose in a few days, I will be 60, thinking the same about today.

I long for the transition of fall, the slow crisping of the air and slight changing of leaves, week by week.


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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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