It wasn’t too long ago that I was publicly bemoaning the fact that May is the busiest month of the year. And I know I’m not alone in thinking this. All over social media, my fellow moms of school-aged children were commiserating with each other and offering solidarity as we all wondered why on earth so much is crammed into one single, solitary month.
But, as I now suddenly find myself in the month of June, I’m looking back on the insanity of the previous month and realizing that perhaps it served a greater purpose.
Because, just as we are entering a new season of the year, I am entering a new season of motherhood.
Last week, my youngest child completed her elementary school education. That means, we are officially no longer apart of the ‘little kid’ community.
No more pumpkin patch field trips. No more walking her into her classroom, enjoying those rare moments when she would actually still let me hold her hand. No more sweet school concerts where the kindergarten class is sure to provide us with some hilarious antics for extra entertainment. No more arriving early enough for school pickup to observe her running around on the playground with her friends.
As I watched my beautiful (inside and out!) girl walk across the platform to receive her promotion certificate, it felt as though the clock of my life just went ‘thunk’ and moved us right into the next time period whether we were ready for it or not. And, we weren’t ready for it.
Of course, it didn’t help matters that less than a week later, my oldest child was promoted from middle school. Full disclosure; there were many days over the past three years that I wondered if we would survive. But, then there he was. Tall, handsome, wearing clothes from the men’s department and size 11 1/2 shoes.
It’s the end of an era for us. Come Autumn, our oldest will enter high school and our youngest will enter middle school and I’m left feeling quite betwixt and between.
I have this vivid memory that stands out from my early years of motherhood. I remember taking my then three year old son for a walk around the neighborhood right after it had rained. He gleefully jumped in puddles watching as his little fireman rain boots splashed water everywhere. And, as we walked, me holding his tiny hand in mine, I closed my eyes for the briefest of moments and inhaled as deeply as I could, then held my breath for a moment. I prayed right then and there, “Lord help me to never forget how this feels.” I wished that I could bottle it up. The softness of his skin, the sparkle in his eyes as he lunged for the next puddle, the sweet smell of spring air.
I had only been a mother for a few short years and yet I knew. Or, at least I thought I knew. I thought I knew how quickly it was going to all go by. But, friends, its gone faster than I could ever have imagined that day as I stood there on the sidewalk with my three year old praying for that moment to last forever.
So, maybe the busyness of May was a gift. A blessing disguised as a crammed calendar. Maybe it spared me from too much time spent thinking about and grieving over the end of this season. Because, I can’t go back to last month. I can’t go back to last season. No amount of wishing for it to all slow down will actually make it go by more slowly.
I’ve never been one to embrace change easily. (If my family is reading this it’s safe to assume they are laughing their heads off at the gross understatement of that last sentence!)
And yet, in recent years, I feel like God has increased my capacity for being in the ‘now’. My melancholy tendencies towards looking back have given way to a greater ability to just simply be in the present season. And maybe that’s one of the most wonderfully surprising gifts of this stage of motherhood. Because, by now, I’m all too fully aware that it goes by faster than we can imagine. But, there are many parenting years still ahead. So I’m learning to exist in that tension between knowing it’s going to go quickly and yet not having the luxury of too much time to dwell on that fact because I’m too busy still being in the thick of it all.
So, as one season slips into the next and then the next and then the next, my heart’s desire is that even if I don’t always happily welcome them with open arms, I will graciously accept their inevitability.
And I will choose to make the most out of all of the joy and the beauty and the memory-making potential that each new season holds for me and will only occasionally glance back over my shoulder at the seasons behind me, if only for a moment, to marvel at how far we’ve come.