New Seasons

“There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven …”

Eccelsiastes 3:1

My Tuesday mornings look a lot different than they have in the past. For so long, I worked full time and then part time and then more than full time as a stay-at-home mom. All of my days include laundry and cooking and cleaning and bathing kids and doing homework and reading stories and discipline and a whole lot of prayer and for patience. On a typical day when you walk into my house you will find this at some point:

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Suddenly this fall though there is more time for reading and running errands and finding out what I choose to do when I have the option. Now my Tuesday mornings look more like this:

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I have been a little sad that the season of life that I’ve been in for the past ten years has come to an end. There is no longer a baby or a toddler scampering through the house, no diapers to change, no baby blue or pale pink laundry to do. The sweet baby smell has long since left my home, the crib is disassembled, the high chair stored, the stroller is put away. Being a mom has given definition to my life in a way that nothing else ever has, and it will continue to but in different ways.

I am unusual in that the middle of the night wakings and feedings and the blur of the early months of mothering a new baby never bothered me. Exhaustion was a normal part of each day, but it was good because it was earned by investing in the lives of my own children. I’ve mourned that what I know to do as a mom is no longer a need. I have to learn how to be and how to love and nurture in this season of parenting school aged kids. As I threw away the training toilets a few months ago, I had my first glimpse into how this newness could be a good thing.

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So in order to mark this new season, I am doing things big today. I am splurging on a muffin instead of fruit or oatmeal, and I am not even making the low calorie version of what I want. I’m talking about all the buttery goodness and crumble topping crunch of a bakery muffin. I may even eat the whole thing.

This day has been a long time coming, and I’m really not sure what to do with it, except write — I must write.

I used to hate that life is always described in seasons. It frustrated me when I was stuck in a challenging season, that it wouldn’t just end because I had decided I was over it. And when I’m in a good one, I find myself holding onto it tightly, willing that it should never end. And when the end is inevitable, I search for something to fill its void — something big or exciting or life changing, in hopes that it will be bigger and better and more satisfying than what I am losing.

So this summer I was set to go back to school, but like I’ve mentioned a few times I’ve felt prompted to slow down; that my idea of finishing a master’s in nursing before I turn 40 was my idea, but not necessarily the right or best idea.

For years Matt has been telling me that he’d like for me to have at least six months to take things slowly (as much as is possible while caring for four kids) — to not do anything extra, but to just be me and to discover what excites and energizes me in this season of life, because if I really stop and ask myself what it is, I find I talk around the question without landing on an answer. So this July when I told Matt that I thought I should hold off at least a semester before going back to school, he was fully supportive.

We had already registered Mary Elena for preschool two mornings a week to make some space for me to take classes, and so here I am on a Tuesday morning, all four kids in school, and I’m alone for the first time in a long time, and I’m celebrating.

I’m celebrating the time to pursue a dream, pushing aside the sadness of the end of the baby season of my life, and I’m embracing this newness — thankful that it is never too late to explore a passion.

“Who would ever have thought I’d write? I mean, if I didn’t have all this free time …”

~ Kathleen Kelly, You’ve Got Mail

So I’m rejoicing and writing — it’s what I went to college for in the first place, but taking the time to put pen to paper and etch out the words that swirl in my mind feels strangely foreign. Dreaming and creating  …

It feels completely odd that I am sitting in cafe on a Tuesday morning with a pen and a moleskin, alone, and yet if I think back fifteen years this is exactly what I thought I’d be doing at this moment in my life.

Someone just asked me what I do for a living, and I told him “I raise my four kids.” So while I once thought writing would be my career, it is not what I spend most of my time doing, but it is life giving and I’m learning that’s enough.

So today I will celebrate — dreams and the gift of time, the privilege of provision for my kids in their amazing schools, a husband who encourages me to rediscover myself, a God who made me just the way I am and knows how I think in narration and pending dialogues. A God who knew I’d be sitting here, on this day before I ever came up with the idea.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

Psalm 139:2-5

I am embracing my 36th year as one of pursuing only what gives life and enables me to serve my family, friends, and community well. Pushing aside the fear that this may all amount to nothing, I am writing and as I write I will celebrate and eat every last morsel of my (full fat) muffin.

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