It was a very strange summer here in the Willamette Valley. Normally, we count on mid-July through late September to be our ‘guarantee’ months. When there is loads and loads of sunshine, temperatures holding very steadily in the mid-80’s with the only occasional surge into the 90’s. Plus, we get the added bonus of no humidity! It’s why so many people travel to the Pacific Northwest this time of the year and why we are reminded that there really is know place quite like the beautiful state of Oregon.
But, this year has been different. And I realized that the weather has really reflected this stage in my life. Our ‘normal’ summer-y days seemed few and far between. Not only did the warm days seem to transition too quickly into the cooler days of fall, my days as a mom were spent driving my teenager back and forth to work (his first real job!) and keeping my 12 year old daughter busy with her own activities. The summer days of blowing bubbles and running through the sprinklers in the backyard are long gone and, just like the seasons of the year, the seasons of my life (I think there’s a book about that? wink wink) seem to be moving at warp speed.
Suddenly, I find myself seeing the month of October (and then the holidays!) looming ahead and I can’t even wrap my mind around how quickly the past season went as I’m puttering around the house adding touches of the next season everywhere.
We’ve realized that with older kids, you just don’t see them as much. Between school and sports and homework and friends and them just wanting time to themselves, our windows of opportunity to spend time together keep closing a little bit more each year.
Maybe that’s why I’m more determined than ever to not waste time and energy on things that just aren’t that important in the end.
Which means that, just when I think I can’t get any more simple in my seasonal decor, I find a new level of simplicity I didn’t realize was there.
Instead of spending a ton of money on pumpkins, I invested in a few more pieces of brown transferware that I can use year after year.
Tucked into a vintage wood caddy and placed in an oversized basket along with a bunch of wheat, they declare that Autumn is here but in a more subtle, more gentle way.
And, to be honest, my heart feels kind of fragile in this season of life. So, surrounding myself with more gentle seasonal touches are just what I need.
I absolutely love being a mom to a tween and a teen. There are so many warnings about this stage, about how hard and how scary it is. And those warnings are valid. It can be really hard and really scary at times. Just this week my son got his driver’s license! Yikes!
But, woven through the hard and the scary are so many incredible moments. Positive, wonderful, hilarious, poignant moments that far outweigh any of the ones that aren’t quite so fun.
And yet, while I’ve determined to not lament over the fact that my seasons of motherhood have gone by so quickly and my kids have grown up way too fast, I still feel this ache in my heart. I don’t let it grow too big because I know it could overpower me, but it’s there nonetheless.
It’s the ‘bitter’ part of bittersweet. That tinge of sadness attached to things that are so right and so good and yet remind you of what was and what is to come.
And I guess that’s why my heart as a mother feels kind of fragile right now and why I’ve chosen to gently embrace the season rather than run headlong into it with masses of pumpkins and bursts of color.
Because my role is changing and shifting and I’m trying to change and shift with it.
In this season of motherhood, I feel like I’m constantly doing a kind of dance. “Do you need me? Do you not need me? Should I speak up? Should I stay quiet? Should I get involved? Should I let you figure this out yourself?”
It reminds me of the leaves dancing around as they fall from the trees, floating this way and that way before landing on the ground and even then, all it takes is a gust of wind to pick them back up and toss them around again!
I’m doing the dance and trying to roll with the changes and marveling at these incredible humans we’re raising and yet, in the quietest of moments, I wonder how on earth I got here so quickly.
There’s a rawness to every season of the year and every stage of motherhood, but in the Autumn stage, it just feels like there is so much extra to tug at your emotions. Because, you know that it will come to a climax, a peak, and then the next season is just not quite as vibrant. It still holds so much beauty, of course, but it’s not quite as lush and colorful as all of the other seasons.
And yet, as much as I would love to just slow things down a bit, there is always an eagerness, an anticipation for the next season that we just can’t seem to get away from. The rhythms of the seasons of life and the rhythms of the seasons of the year are so intertwined and so unavoidable that they force us to keep moving forward….even if we go kicking and screaming.
So, I won’t try to avoid the rhythms. I might not fling my arms wide open to them, but I won’t turn them away either.
This year, my heart and my home may not be loudly shouting out a welcome to the next season, but both will open the door to invite it in with gentle acceptance.
Thank you for coming to visit me today dear friends,
P.S. I hope this blog post wasn’t too depressing! LOL! Once I start writing, the words just flow out of me and I don’t always have control over which way they go. Next time, I’ll share a funny story with you I promise! 😉