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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dad Daze: An autumnal attitude adjustment courtesy of my four kids

Families gather under an autumn sky looking for pumpkins Oct. 17 at Carver Farms in Newman Lake.  (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)

Perhaps I have some sort of seasonal disorder. When September arrives, I can’t help but get melancholy. It harks back to my childhood. Every night before the first day of school, I would toss and turn and wake up exhausted as I started a new year, which featured about 180 days of school.

I wish I could say that I enjoyed my early education. Perhaps it had much to do with the rigidity of Catholic school. Wearing a uniform, attending an all-boys institution and hair checks. Maybe that’s the root of my allergic reaction to September along with the end of baseball season.

I laughed when my friend told me about his son Luke’s reaction to the last day of school. “The torture is finally over,” the 10-year old said. However, I’m trying after all of these years to embrace autumn’s imminent arrival, and who is helping chart my course but my children. Thankfully, each of the four enjoy school and everything that accompanies fall.

“I love seeing my friends every day and learning,” my daughter Jane, 12, said. “I love that it’s not so hot anymore.” I suppose I’ve had it with the heat. Good point, Jane. Also, I will be able to see friends since the kids are occupied. Summers for yours truly are tied up with driving my son Milo, 16, from one baseball tournament to the next. Summer is kid-centric for me, so I should look forward to more adult time.

“How can you not be excited about college football and professional football?” Milo asked. So true! Since arriving in Spokane just before the pandemic, I’ve yet to experience a Seattle Seahawks game. I’ve heard all about the noise generated by the team’s rabid fan base.

If I can score tickets, it would be a blast to catch the Seahawks opener against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 19. I’ll be halfway to Seattle after catching KISS the prior night at the Gorge. So, yes, gridiron action is appealing.

“You love to eat, and so how can you not love fall food?” my son Eddie, 19, asked. Since I’m barely a social drinker, don’t smoke or gamble, what’s left but to eat, and, yes, autumn is full of culinary delights.

“How can you say that you have issues with autumn since your favorite holiday just might be Halloween?” my daughter Jillian, 22, asked. Halloween is right up there with Christmas and Thanksgiving. I guess there are some reasons why autumn is a pretty good season.

I appreciate my children lifting me up at this time of year since I still get the blahs as the warmth of summer abates. My favorite times as a child were at the beach, playing baseball and just hanging out late into the summer night as a teen. I’m amazed that those long-ago experiences still seem so close, but they’re well into the rearview.

Thanks to my children, I’m going for an attitude adjustment. Maybe I’ll get lost in a corn maze, pick out pumpkins for carving and roast some chestnuts. “No need to be depressed since there are so many cool places to hike around here,” Milo said. It’s true. I’ve hiked through Manito Park, Palisades Park and Palouse Falls during the summer, so why not go for a hike and admire the fall foliage?

Milo also suggested a long weekend at Glacier National Park. We played a baseball tournament in Whitefish last summer and only spent a brief time in the majestic park. So there are plenty of reasons to get over years of wincing at the arrival of September and immerse myself in autumnal activities. Thanks, kids, for leading me on the appropriate path.