It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was in the early springtime of motherhood. Looking back, there was so much good to be had then.
The flowers, for one thing. The new life. The energy and long daylight hours.
And the exhaustion. Oh, the exhaustion.
I was young(ish) and energetic(ish) and full of life(ish). No joke: I had the proof of life there on my lap, at my breast, in my arms.
The babies didn’t sleep much, and they inducted me into motherhood as I paid the price of sleepless nights and worried Google searches, listening to advice (good and bad) and soft music. I learned a lot in those springtime years: how to laugh at myself and what to take seriously. There was the beauty and the rush of spring, the ups and down of surprise sicknesses and sudden mood swings.
Then came summer, with the heat and the constant movement. Summer, of less structure and more free time. Summer, filled with sweet kisses and many dandelion bouquets. Summer, punctuated with outside chores and late nights and fireflies.
Oh, the bliss of summer and all its busyness. I thought I had it down, and not only because I was finally getting some sleep. Living half the time outdoors, soaking in the intensity of young bodies learning to move and decide and explore.
Summer has been a push and pull of structure: longing for it and then basking in its absence. I can’t help but think of how much water summer uses: to drink, to swim in, to bathe those dirty feet.
This fall, as my kids started school, I waved goodbye to them and collapsed into my own (outside the home) work. Our oldest entered high school this year. The youngest, now four, is gone all day at preschool/daycare.
The summer days of my motherhood are waning, just like they do in August as the fresh backpacks and newly sharpened pencils leave for lockers and learning.
It’s not less work. But it is very different. And I’m in the early part of fall, the part of fall that isn’t really separated from summer.
And yet, I can feel the transition. I can feel the tug and pull – of my heart, of my soul, of some part of me that’s undefined. There’s change in the air as the leaves turn, as the kids continue to grow.
There is beauty here (and nights of complete sleep and sometimes even a day to sleep in!). The bright yellows of late blooms splash through the green – green leaves and green weeds and green buds.
There is also a shadow, a whisper, a fear. There are dead blooms that need cleaned out and persistent viney weeds wreaking havoc. Some leaves have started falling off trees, proof that there’s more than just a chill in my imagination.
What if I haven’t prepared them? What if I haven’t properly laid the foundation? What if they aren’t ready or able or willing?
But, that voice in my head replies, what if it’s not just my problem? What if I’m not supposed to have complete assurance and total confidence? What if my role is to lean in to the arms of my Lord? What if, as they step out and continue to grow, my role is to cover them with the very best kind of protection in my prayers?
It doesn’t feel like enough. It never has.
My role in these waning summer days is no less important. I turn to Mama Mary and reflect that she, too, embraced this ongoing journey of motherhood. Could this be a hint of how she felt, finding Jesus at the Temple after searching for three days? Might her pondering be something for me?
Copyright 2019 Sarah Reinhard