Last Friday My Guy gave me the best gift I’ve received in ages: he took the kids with him to spend the afternoon with his aunt and cousins. Girl, I enjoyed seven hours with no one asking me for anything, tugging on my leg, whining, or crying. No one wanted food or spilled their juice on the carpet. The house remained silent except for the times I was filming or watching TV while I ate my lunch.
Add to this the fact that it was the quintessentially perfect fall day: crisp and sunny. Oh, and did I mention that this all happened after I slept in?
Once my people left me alone in the silent house, I sat on the floor, overwhelmed with how to spend these hours. As I basked in the quiet and the sunshine, I thought back to four plus years ago when I was pregnant with Reagan and eager to meet him. My good friend Hope, then mother of four and expecting her fifth, encouraged me to watch as much TV as I could and sleep all I wanted, because it would be years before that would happen again.
I wish I’d listened to her.
Kids change things
Seriously—looking back from today, everything is different. Before kids, if I got sick, I slept or vegged and watched TV while guzzling TheraFlu. These days if I’m sick, chances are the kids are, as well. Thankfully, My Guy does what he can to help out at those times, whether managing midnight emergencies or taking time off work to care for us.
Before kids, I enjoyed plenty of time for both work and leisure. These days it’s a fight to find the time, energy, and focus to get my work done.
Before kids, I always dressed nicely with coordinating accessories. These days I’m lucky if I remember to put on both earrings…if I put them on at all.
It’s easy to look back from my current vantage point and long for days of quiet and order. Heck, who am I kidding? I wish I had more opportunities to be downright selfish. That’s just who I am.
It’s also easy to want to press fast-forward on my life, to a time when my kids are more independent. I dream of a day when James and I can go on dates without hunting down a babysitter. I eagerly anticipate lively dinner conversations around intelligent topics, where all four of us express our differing points of view.
Embracing the seasons
Fall is my favorite season of the year. Much like turning the calendar to February weighs me down, the arrival of October rejuvenates me. I want to savor every single moment: the perfect temperatures, yummy sleeping weather, candles, fall colors, sweaters, even the autumn rainstorms. I move just a teensy bit slower this month because I don’t want it to end.
Why do I have the wisdom to treasure fall, and yet I don’t treasure this season where my kids are young, needy, and precious?
I don’t expect this discontent to ever disappear completely. I’m human. The discontent I feel is a reminder that my destiny doesn’t end here on earth. Life is bigger than now.
However, I also know that, in order to live well, I need to put my energy into embracing the present—to live like every day is an October day. Maybe I should tattoo that on my hand: “it’s always fall, y’all.”
Knowing me, I’d soon overlook even that obvious reminder.
For me, there’s no perfect answer. Every season will be one of learning, failing, getting back up, doing better, screwing up again, and growth. So I’m going with it. How about you?