Monday, September 16, 2013

What pumpkin spice lattes taught me about life.

It's obvious that fall is on it's way. We're experiencing cooler days and there's a crispness to the air that whispers rumors of the impending arrival of another season, forcing out it's apparently stale predecessor. Facebook and Pinterest have been flooded with hopes of wearing hoodies, pumpkin-flavored absolutely everything, apple picking, and savory crock-pot meals.

I have to admit, I'm a fall fanatic. I love me some cuddling under a blanket while fresh air whips around the house. I'm all about warm drinks and candles with dancing flames and cozy smells. And if I'm really honest, I'd have to tell you that long sleeves and scarves and hoodies are just a few of my favorite things (all of which must have been runners-up to Maria's list in The Sound of Music!).

But let's rewind to...oh...the beginning of April this year. It had been a loong winter by many standards: many days with low temps, lots of snow, and few signs of spring by the time it typically found itself rolling into town. It seriously snowed on April 19th. Everyone was just set on when will it finally be spring already? pleading with winter to politely make it's way out of our lives for a good 9 months or maybe even forever, because we've really just had enough.

And then do you remember May and June? So much rain! Wasn't it time for spring to be over and summer to be here? Longing for hothothot temperatures so that the pools could be put to good use--so that it would finally feel like summer already.

But here we are, longing for fall in a bad way.

We get pretty caught up in what the weather's doing--and why shouldn't we? Should I wear 5 layers today because when I head out it's going to be 30 degrees cooler than when I head back home? Do I need to grab an umbrella? Should I hide in the house all day for fear of melting? There's a reason we watch the news to catch a glimpse at what the weatherman predicts (the only job where it doesn't matter if you're right!). Conversations about the weather are unavoidable and you'll even share your opinion about today's forecast with the cashier at the coffee shop.

When it comes to seasons, you really have to live in and deal with whatever the weather has in store at that time. You cannot wish away a three-foot snow drift off of your driveway, you have to either shovel it yourself or find a husband that will in order to get on with your day. It's not necessary to make sure you have enough layers with you in the middle of the summer, nor would you be looking for your other flip-flop in the winter. As summer comes to a close, we predict based on past experiences what it might be like to experience fall again (and many of our predictions include pumpkin spice lattes) and know that, whether it's our favorite season or not, we must be ready to live in and deal with it.

And isn't this how the seasons of life work, too?

Here I am in a new season, one entitled "Mommyhood." And it's all pretty different than that of "College Student" or "Newlywed" or "Student Activities Asst. Director." It's taking some getting used to, but I'm realizing that I just have to live in it and deal with it. Not in a sarcastic, bitter "deal with it!" way...a day-by-day, learning the ropes and the pace and experiencing it's joy kind of "deal with it." I had nine months of knowing I would birth this precious child, pregnancy being really it's own kind of season.  I prepared for this season by listening to what others had to say about it, by reading books and being prayerful and intentional about what we wanted our lives with children to look like.

And while it mostly resembles the pumpkin flavors of fall and the blooming flowers of spring, it also looks like a driveway that needs to be shoveled sometimes. I find myself loving kissing his scrumptious cheeks, watching his curiosity at what's going on around him, his cute little chuckles as he grabs his feet on the changing table; all the while aching just a little bit for previous seasons when I could make spontaneous plans and take a shower without being interrupted. I'm also caught longing for the seasons to come, when I can leave him at home to run to the store, watch him find his passions, when he will be able to tell me exactly how he feels and what he wants in life (although maybe I won't be so grateful for that during the teenage years...).

There are times when I'd watch people who were clearly in a different season than me and find myself wondering what it would be like to go back, or spring forward, to that time. Would it be easier, more carefree? Do they appreciate how "easy" they've got it? Would I remember how it felt to be right where I am now? Are they looking at me, wishing they had little ones again?

I've realized that in order to get through this season of life--filled with long days with someone who can't carry much of a conversation, seeing 3am more often than I'd prefer, being so busy but feeling like I got nothing done at the end of the day, changing many diapers and having a little one practically glued to my side--in order to really thrive right now, I need to just live in it. I need to appreciate cuddle time with the little man, my ability to give him exactly what he needs during mid-night wake-up calls. I need to remember that he won't be small forever, snuggle him close and tickle his little toesies often. I need to know that I'm fully equipped to be his momma, even when I'm going through learning curves myself and feel like a mega-failure.

I know I'll look back fondly on these days, the joy they brought and the journey they led to. I need to live in and deal with the challenging--mentally, physically, and emotionally--because this is just a season of life.

And how quickly the seasons change.



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