Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Season of Now

I love the change of seasons;  those few days or weeks where the newness of the season hasn't yet worn off, where the anticipations of the past few months are manifested in each moment, where I couldn't possibly wish for the weather to be any different.  Fall is my favorite; I'm pretty sure it's everyone's favorite, but no matter what season it's changing to, there is always this inner longing for the newness of the next season to emerge.  The warmth of Spring which melts the Winter chill, bringing with it beautiful, fragrant blossoms, thundershowers, rainbows, and festivals.   The Summer heat which carries with it the promise of longer days, vacations, tanned skin, and lazy relaxation.  The crisp chill of Fall which blows it's breeze over the charred summer landscape, signaling the start of holidays, football season, and family times. The frigid air of Winter, which brings with it cozy sweaters, fireplaces, and the smell of pine.  There is something incredible in each Season.  Something to look forward to.  To anticipate.  But more often than not, a few weeks into each new season, I find myself anticipating the next season.  More than just anticipating it, wishing for it, waiting for it, unsatisfied by the presentation of Nature at the moment, and already wishing it away.

As I mowed our lawn this morning, the weather was glorious and hinting at Summer.  I couldn't imagine that I'd ever get tired of days like today.  And then I started thinking about the seasons of life, and how they are much like the seasons in Nature.

I can't remember a time in my life that I wasn't waiting for the season of Motherhood.  Becoming a mother has been the one constant, something I knew I was born to be.  We tried to get pregnant with Sadie for five months before we finally did, and while that is by no means a long amount of time, it felt painfully long as each month passed.  I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with her.  I woke up in the middle of the night, 2:30 am, and I could hardly sleep just waiting to know, wishing for my dream to finally come.  I took the test, and it was positive.  There is no way to describe the elation that I felt in that moment.  It was like the world had led me there, as if every breath I'd breathed up until then had been shallow and half-hearted, and I was finally breathing in the first full breath of my life.  It was a simple line on a stick, but for me, it was a monumental.  That was the moment I began to live.

Her birth was no less miraculous.  The sounds of her first cries are forever etched in my memory.  My heart grew one hundred times over in those first moments of her life.  She became the sun my world revolved around.  She was everything and anything I could ever want.  Nothing could make me take my eyes off of her, not for a moment.  After what had felt like endless winters, the season of Motherhood had finally come.

I envisioned myself as a mother for years and years before I ever became one, but I always knew the kind of mother I would be.  Attentive.  Supportive.  Nurturing.  Kind.  Funny.  Silly.  Doting.  The kind of mother who savored each moment, counted each new freckle, kissed each and every boo-boo, calmed each nightmare.  The kind who never rolled her eyes, never wanted alone time, never needed anything but to be with her children.

The reality of motherhood is quite different than anything I ever imagined.  It's certainly not always wonderful.  I am, at times, distracted, dismissive, cold, mean, serious.  I don't always make myself proud.  There are moments when motherhood feels foreign, like something I'm not cut out for.  I lose my temper.  I get frustrated.  Little things annoy me, like sand tracked in from outside, or bikes left out, or dirty clothes left draped all across the house.  Crumpled up clothes in messy drawers and the way I'm constantly buying children's body wash because they use up half the container with each bath.  Unmade beds, fighting over toys, tantrums, never sitting still.  Typical kids things.  Things which anyone planning parenthood should expect.  Things which other parents seem to shrug off; these are the things that gnaw their way under my skin.

No, my life is nothing like I once pictured it would be.  But it's no less beautiful.  I've caught myself in the past wishing away certain seasons of life to make way for newer seasons, envisioning that those seasons will somehow bring peace, purpose, an inner feeling of completion.  But I know, now, that is not the case.  And it never will be.  No season of life will ever be as beautifully imperfect as the season I'm in now.  There can never be anything now.  Wishing away today in hopes of tomorrow is like waiting for the sun to rise in Japan.  It will happen, but there's no guarantee I'll ever be there to see it.  I don't hold tomorrow in my hands.  I hold now.  This moment.  I know nothing of what will happen in my life, and I certainly can't plan for much of it.  I can spend all of my time waiting for a tomorrow that may never come.  Or I can be here.  I can be present for the life that's happening right now.  I can allow myself to feel alive and complete and wonderful in the moments of now.  These moments are all I have.

The seasons of change will come.  Some day all of my children will be off to school, and I have time to do the things that I want.  And most certainly, when those days are upon me I will find myself missing this season.  I will miss the interruptions and early morning wake-ups.  I will miss playing Candy Land over and over again.  I'll miss the messy crafting and the crayon marks on table tops.  I'll miss the pleas for extra stories and the tight squeezes of extra snuggles.  I'll miss the little shoes scattered all across the house and the milk stains on the furniture.  I'll miss hearing the dishwasher running, knowing that I didn't cut it on.  I'll miss the sweet smells that only come from my babies.  I'll miss the doe-eyed looks of my innocent baby boy.  The carefree giggles of my precious little girl, lost in a world of her own characters.  The way my daughter's hair dances in the wind as she's swinging and the sun sparkles off her cheeks.  I'll miss their childish voices, the unexpected hand holds, and the cries for Momma to make it all better.

How could I wish away this season?  It's the most beautiful one of all.

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