Dear November,

I’d like to have a word.

We both know that you’re going to show up. You are going to show up at my front door with your familiar packages and boxes and bags that smell like all the traditions I love.

You and I both know I’ll be watching for you, looking out my window in anticipation, the voice inside my head that never grew-up excitedly asking, “Is she here yet?”

November, you must love that I legit lose my mind when you walk through my front door, tripping over myself in eagerness to lend you a hand and to help you unpack.

You and May, you’ve got to know that you’re my favorite house guests. I treasure your seasonal visits, and, if I’m being honest, this year I’m hoping you’ll stay for a while.

Don’t tell the other months, but we all know that March waaaay overstayed his welcome this year and made a real mess of things.

It has, for serious, been like an extra-long year at my house, November, because March was here for THIRTY WHOLE WEEKS and sucked all of the oxygen out of the spring and summer months.

I swear he even tried to vex the fall.

But your arrival, well, it means I can exhale. You are literally a breath of crisp, fresh air, and you signal that everything is finally going to be OK.

When you drop your dusty packages, boxes, and bags in my foyer, I get my first good look at life wrapped up in flannel and scarves and boots, and I smell the freshly baked pumpkin bread and cinnamon-apples and orange-spice that just wafts right on in with you.

I actually think I might shed real tears when I smell those smells this year.

Because it means we will have survived the longest season. And that we can now officially reset.

And when you give me that giant, squishy, Grandma-is-here hug, all the crunchy leaves will just swirl and dance around us in the golden celebration that is November while we get ready to settle you in for the duration.

November, you’re coming soon and starting to think about packing for your trip, and I just want you to know I’m here for you to BRING IT ALL for this visit.

Seriously, I have all the fall candles anyone was willing to sell me, and I am ready to make our whole house smell like a toxic explosion of Frosted Cranberry, Spiced Apple Toddy, and White Pumpkin, to name a few.

Also, I bought peppermint extract at the grocery store because you give me permission to start THINKING about making goodies like peppermint bark once you’ve been here for a while.

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I added extra blankets to the beds because I like the idea that it might actually get cold where I live, and, just for you, November, I’m doing a masterful job lobbying for cozy nights around a fire. I know this because my husband just ordered an outdoor heater for the porch which is obviously something I need to celebrate your arrival.

Since you’re going to be loading up soon for your trip, I’d like to make a special request.

Can you please bring the chance to see family on Thanksgiving?

We’re all kind of edgy about how we’re supposed to get the students-who-go-to-school-far-away and the little cousins and all the grandparents in a space where we can actually share a meal. I don’t even care if it has turkey in it. I just want to see my people.

Fiercely.

Also, if you could please bring some good news with you, too, that would be MOST WELCOME.

I know you’re just shaking your head that one of those nasty ol’ elections will keep making a real racket until you get here and PUT DOWN YOUR FOOT. I’d just like for you to make it fade into the background so we can unwrap your other precious cargo, like the Christmas tree we select the Friday after Thanksgiving as a family.

I always film the guys hauling the tree into the living room because I get all mushy on the inside watching the little boy who used to wear his dad’s work gloves and follow him around “helping” with the tree just heft that cedar up onto his shoulder, up the front steps, and into the stand, practiced at it as he is after all these years, and being man-sized and all.

Then there’s the Saturday after Black Friday when one of my best friends collects my daughter and they spend ALL DAY shopping. Not like passive shopping, but like aggressive, targeted-strike shopping that is clearly out of my league.

I think you know they map out their destination and download coupons and that my 14-year-old negotiates with unsuspecting salespeople like she’s buying a used car, which is great if you like outrageously overpriced designer handbags.

I’d like some more of those memories for those two again this year, if you can manage it.

November, all of your cargo is precious, and I just want to take our time unwrapping it.

I’ve ordered the mulling spices, and I’ve picked out the spot I want to torture my nearly-grown children and take the family holiday pic.

That’s my job, November. I’m the mom, and most of the time I’m at least OK at it.

Please grant me the space to be good at the things I know that I can actually be good at, because I’m afraid I’ve already used up all my adapting and being flexible skills for the year.

I just want you to show up, like always, with your anticipation, your bright autumn air, and your chunky-blanket comforting presence.

Thanks for listening, November. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to make your stay more pleasant.

There is room for you in my life, November. You are my honored guest, and I hope you’ll take up all the space my family and I can offer you this year.

I’m ready.

Please, November, this year especially, please show up and make things right, one smoky candlewick at a time.

Just like you always have.

Just like I’m used to.

Just like I hope for again.

Thanks for listening, November. I can’t wait to see you!

With love,

EVERYONE EVERYWHERE IN 2020

Originally published on Facebook

Whitney Westbrook

Whitney Westbrook writes about navigating midlife, mostly with grace. Because midlife is relentless and irreverent, and because we should all talk about it out loud more. Follow her for more misadventures and insights on all things midlife. https://www.facebook.com/SoVeryWhitney/