I. Hate. Winter.
There. I said it.
I grew up in Wisconsin, so it’s not like I’m not used to the snow, ice, and cold. It’s just that I don’t like it. Beyond that, I just love summer. So much so, that from the first day of August until the first snowflake falls, I find myself desperately chasing after each day, holding tightly to the sunshine and the warm temperatures…. because out there, on the horizon, I can see the doom and gloom of winter.
But this year, when that first snowfall inevitably came, I opened my eyes to my two preschoolers, both an inch from my face with their winter coats and hats on; my two year old squealing, “I go ice skating now! I ready mama!” and my four year old holding the “build a snowman” kit in his hand. They were ready and even excited to welcome this new season, and they both have a list of reasons why this winter is going to be awesome.
So I got up, and I determined to enjoy it, for their sake. We bundled up in all that
blasted winter wear and we went outside and we had a BALL. And while I really am sad that it’s not summer anymore, I am 100% enjoying winter this year because I’m trying so hard to embrace all the wonderful things it has to offer (please don’t ask me how I feel about it come February, though).
I tend to approach the changing seasons of motherhood much like I approach the shift from summer to winter. I am one of those overly sentimental people. I feel positively sick whenever someone tells me to “enjoy them little! It goes so quickly!” because I am so painfully aware of that fact.
My last babies, our twins, just turned a year old. My husband and I are quickly leaving the baby season of parenting and it seems to be ending almost as quickly as it began. 2017 will be my first year without being pregnant or nursing since 2011. And while my body is probably celebrating, I find myself trying to grasp for moments as they fly past me. I’m filled with anxiety and dread when I think about my babies weaning, walking, going to school, making friends, and finally growing up and moving out on their own.
I fear becoming obsolete. I fear missing the moment. I fear having regrets. I am so scared (and sad) to leave this season.
And then, I look at my two year old. She is SO stinking cute. She has no inhibitions, she giggles incessantly, she uses the incorrect pronouns in sentences, and all she asks of me on a daily basis is to stop what I’m doing and dance with her in the living room. Sure, she throws painful tantrums and is impossible to reason with, but she’s a beautiful mess. Our present time with her as a two year old is an incredibly beautiful season.
I look at my four year old. He’s started school this year. He’s making friends. I look at how smart, caring, witty, fun, and empathetic he’s becoming. I laugh at the things he says. I love the conversations I get to have with him about God and the mysteries of life, and I recognize how wonderful this season is. He’s stubborn and getting good at ignoring me when I ask him to do something, but he and I are growing in that, too. It has its difficulties, but this has also been such a beautiful season.
And as far as the seasons yet to come? Well, I don’t know what they hold, but I have taken a lot of comfort in watching my parents blossom as grandparents. Over the course of 30 years, my parents faithfully raised five children through a myriad of seasons. Stepping into a new season as empty nesters had to be a bit overwhelming. But seeing my parents thrive as they love my children, their grandchildren, has been such an encouragement to me, it’s reminded me that life isn’t over when you’re kids grow up and leave you. It changes. I’m sure it has it’s own challenges. But there are beautiful things about that season to look forward to and embrace.
In a recent conversation, bemoaning how fast my babies are growing up, I told a friend it feels like we’re riding a freight train going downhill with no signs of stopping. But you know what? I think I’m going to stop trying to grasp for the brakes, and instead, just enjoy the ride.
So in 2017, I intend to take each day, each moment for its own beauty. Neither wishing it away nor holding onto it too tightly. And just to be in this beautiful season of motherhood.