One of my favorite things about the children is their cheerful and utter confidence they are worthwhile human beings. I call out to Ralph, “I’m going to turn up the heat just until I get into bed – it might get hot in here for a bit.” Before my husband can respond, Nels says, “That’s fine, mama,” placidly – he’s buried under a comforter in my bed, entirely pleased with himself and how the evening is going.

My kids are always assuming I’m addressing them, talking to them like grownups. They make me proud – every single day.

I thought maybe my youngest child would miss public school – after his one-year experiment in the medium last year – but he most certainly does not. The neighbor boys – who first trod on our lawn and then began to peek in at the kitchen door, especially after they were fed well at our Halloween party – now appear here and there, now on the stairs, now on the deck. Nels knows them all, directs them in minor yardwork, and conducts a variety of “Imagination” games in the autumn-soaked greenery. “Just so you know,” one thirteen year old tells me as I walk down the path to the car, past where the boys are sitting: “Nels is awesome.”

My sewing space is getting colder as the temperature falls outside. I find myself without wool and layers to bundle up in, and without a convenient way to heat the space. The occasional massive spider is gone, at least. Just me and my music, and little tiny sweater dresses for an infant, with a cranberry wool caot. Or perhaps a corduroy blazer size 2T in two shades of forest green. Because I just can’t get enough of that sort of thing!

The house quiets; Phoenix, finished with her math homework – which I am kind of amazed she can keep up on – is now drawing a new obsession, a character from one of her beloved cartoon programs. Ralph has made fresh brownies and they cool under a cloth, on the stove. Behind me, the dog groans and stretches, his blanket freshly washed in the morning housework Nels and I conducted.

The summer seems like it was ages ago, but the fall brings comforts. Hasn’t it ever?