“Each moment of the year has its own beauty.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have loved celebrating our fourth year of changing seasons with my daughter. She’s at an age now where she understands that leaves falling off of trees means crunching them underfoot and that Halloween will soon follow. That Spring brings buds onto our oak tree. That Summer means plenty of sunshine, visits to our pool and popsicles. To watch her savor and enjoy what comes with the changing seasons is something special; almost metaphorical.
There has been a discernible flow of seasons in my life since becoming a mother. It may not be consistent or predictable in every way, but now that I’m well into raising my second child, I see the very same seasons repeating themselves.
Sometimes it’s a welcome change of seasons. When times of painful expectancy culminate and hand us our brand new, snuggly and soft newborn; when the fog of exhaustion and sleep-deprivation lift to reveal a more effective and rested family unit.
Other times, it’s a more difficult change. Seasons will brush in, sweeping away my energy. My motivation. My patience. My mothering skills.
I’m currently in the middle of a productive season. I’ve asked pointed questions of myself and made efforts to enact change in areas that I’ve desperately needed it. Taking charge of my time, my health, our finances. I’ve found positive and effective ways of walking our four-year-old through the season of life she is in. I’ve said no to things that I let rob me of valuable time (I’m looking at you, internet!). Things feel in place; they feel healthy and hopeful.
All I have to do is look a little bit further back, though, to reflect upon a season where things didn’t quite feel this way. Where there were more moments of tension in my relationship with my husband, more deep breaths taken in the bathroom as my kids tantrum outside. A season where Netflix shows were devoured far more than pages in a book, and comfort food took the place of a solid workout. Where I wondered if I was meeting my husband and kids’ needs in the best way, and I felt like I couldn’t find myself beneath all of my to-do’s.
What I’m learning, though, is that each of these seasons prepares me for the next. While I may not enjoy my doubting season, it gives me an impetus to explore what I believe about mothering, marriage, faith, and friendships. When I do this, I’m better able to solidify my convictions and move forward with purpose. My I’ve-got-this season can serve to remind me, when I’m in the middle of my barely-hanging-on season, that I am capable of handling what I’ve been given. That the seasons do change, and I won’t be struggling forever. I tend to forget that in these times.
As the years continue to pass and my seasons ebb and flow, I hope that I continue to have an increasing awareness of them, and that I not only navigate the seasons, but seek to learn from them, knowing full well that another could sweep in at any moment. As I grow and experience the changing of seasons many more times, maybe my just-take-it-easy seasons will be more restful because I’ve also had plenty of productive ones; maybe my doubting seasons will have more flecks of peace, too, because I’ve learned throughout the years to rest, trust, learn, and wait.
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.