Outside my window the seasons are changing. The seasons are changing inside my walls, too. Not because I am so organized and have a fall display up (now that I think about it I should probably get out the stuffed pumpkins - the sum total of my fall decorating!).
My little girl started grade 1 this year and I suddenly realized that she's the last one. It's the last time I'm going to see the joy of one of my little ones catching on to reading. She's the last one that I can carry around on my hip. She's the last one that still wants me to sing her to sleep.
We did a huge happy dance when we kicked the diaper pail to the curb. We're down to one booster seat in the van. I don't ALWAYS have to go to the bathroom with a child in tow. They can all dress themselves and feed themselves and mostly, they can make their own lunches and get ready for school with only minor prompting. We can go places and don't have to take high chairs, playpens and a diaper bag and oodles of toys along.
It's a sad change and a happy one. As I watch the gently swelling bellies of expectant moms in our church I remember those wonder days so very well. I observe the moms with their pre-schoolers in one hand and car seat in the other trying to get everyone in one place and I can smile. But I have to admit that there are some tears in my heart, too. This season is done for me. Parts of it I don't miss, but other bits like these are hard to let go of...
* lisping first time prayers
* teaching them how to hold a crayon
* kissing tiny toes
* that glorious baby smell
* soft baby cheeks pressed against yours
I better stop there before I'm a blubbering mess. Too late!!
On the other end of my spectrum it is a whole different world. Yesterday I took my oldest for his driver's test, he didn't make it. Now, instead of teaching him how to read a book I'm teaching him how to read the road.
I have three teen-agers and it's kind of fun now to have late-night conversations, watch movies we all love, drink lattes together and discuss politics and the Bible and community. They are gaining independence, discovering their uniqueness and reveling in it. We are discussing Universities and courses of study, what to do after graduation and how to get through puberty.
We talk about hairstyles and home decor, how to deal with difficult situations and I can't always help with the homework. We like to shop together and just hang out. I can give them responsibility for things and they take it up. It's a difficult but satisfying season to be entering.
I am trying to think of something deeply spiritual in all this but I'm drawing a blank. We are in so much flux as a family. It feels like we have two sets of kids at such different maturity points. I look forward to do the days ahead knowing that God is going to continue to give us wisdom as he did in the beginning when this hulking young man was a tiny babe in my arms and I was amazed they just let us walk out of the hospital with him.
These gifts the Lord has given us, these 6 amazing young individuals, such a treasure and a trial.
And the seasons will keep on changing...