I feel like a fraud.
I spent the weekend feeling #grateful for the gift of warm weather to remind me how #blessed I am to have the sunshine and warmth in my life.
And then I woke up this morning, and it was 60 degrees.
So I promptly threw on a sweater shoved the bigs off to school and filled my cart with every last item at Trader Joes that resembled an autumnal squash.
All of the things.
I am so weak.
Here’s the thing though. I thrive in change. I bask in change. I seek out change when I can’t find it.
So seasonal living? I’m all in.
I first noticed a slight shift to the seasons one afternoon sitting on our hammock last week. The babe was snuggled up to me (because ALWAYS) and there wasn’t sweat dripping down my chest. From my view I could see the tops of trees showing that first of fall yellow tint. And I swear I could smell a campfire (or was that my neighbor smoking?)
You see, the season shifting doesn’t come to me from the aisles of Target or the menu board at Starbucks. I feel it first in my senses. And today, all these feels were getting me excited.
Cooler cozy weather.
Yummy oven roasted foods.
The C O L O R S on the T R E E S !!!
F A L L !!!
I remembered sitting on this hammock three months prior and having similar feelings. We were OUTSIDE. The sun was warming me. I could see little bits of things growing up and up. Summer was right around the corner and I could scarcely contain my excitement. We had longed for this day for MONTHS. Fresh air and pretty green things and the sunshine warming us.
WE MADE IT!
And you know what? I know I’ll do this in December. I’ll see that first snowflake floating down and I will pull out the hot chocolate, pop up the popcorn, and set myself on the couch with a cozy blanket prepared to watch it fall out my window like a blockbuster movie.
It’s that feeling of newness and possibility that gets me so eager. And also, if I’m honest, a sense that life is going to be a little better, a little more thrilling, a little more interesting on the other side of the season.
I know I don’t just do this with the seasons of the calendar.
I do this with my children too.
“It’s just a season,” she’ll tell you.
“Things will change. You’ll see.”
It’s meant to ease us in a time of stress and anxiety with parenting. Those ages and stages can rock your world, and not in the front row of a U2 concert kind of way but more like the accidental walking into a mosh pit at some new age teen band that you are way too old to be at in the first place kind of way.
But for me, the problem with seeing every stage of parenting as a season, I am thus always in a state of anticipating the next.
Once he is doing this, it will be easier.
It will be so much better when she stops doing that.
Won’t it be fun when our kids can finally do this?
These statements are life saving for me at times of stress. Knowing that a challenging stage has an end is a beneficial way to pull you out of an anxiety loop.
But I worry that I am forgetting to live in the now.
At the same time we hear “It’s just a season,” we are also reminded to stay present.
“You’ll miss this when they are grown.”
Those well meaning individuals are a nuisance to me. I know I won’t miss everything. I can’t imagine one day I will be longing to be on the bathroom floor cleaning up yet another “accident.”
But I do believe in the importance of noticing the every day moments. An important step in reaching peace is finding a presence in the right here, right now parts of life.
Sometimes those right here right now parts of life can be kind of boring. I’ll admit it.
Maybe “boring" isn’t the right word. I am certainly not bored. No way no how.
Perhaps mundane and repetitive are better.
Some days you feel like you pick up the same dang toys, fix the same dang meals, offer the same dang reminders to say please and use an inside voice and only say those words in the bathroom, thank you very much. Repeat Repeat Repeat.
Then naturally, a future season of life sounds bright and shiny. I don’t think we are naive enough to assume it will be free of stress. Just different stress. New and full of possibilities!
So how then do we value the normal every day stuff, without forcing ourselves to just LOVE those three year old tantrums?
Here are a few things I am noticing help in this grounding process.
* Take pictures and look at them often.
Some may say that having your camera out all the time is taking away from being in the moment. Perhaps that is true for you and this self awareness is valid. But for me, I find it causes me to focus on what I want to remember. Like that moment when everything was suddenly quiet and you thought you were about to walk into a crime scene of epic proportions and instead you find two children sitting peacefully looking through the new stack of library books. You are in shock. It is a beautiful moment. And while you try super hard to implant that in your brain, you know the cobwebs will take over soon enough. So you snap a picture. Maybe you share it on your social media platform. Not to brag, but to remember. When you focus your lens on the highlight of the day, the 23 tantrums from earlier in the morning take a place amongst the mental cobwebs.
* Share the Good Things Too
Texting has saved my sanity as a parent. I have friends scattered across every coast and direction and yet I can reach out to them at any time of day and feel as if we just sat down for coffee. And in these texting moments we are free to share the highs but mostly lows of the day. It’s comforting to be seen.
The problem with this freedom is sometimes we use it too much as a therapy session. We spend so much time crying out for help or pleas for solidarity, that we forget to share with our friends the high five moments. I’m guilty of this regularly.
While I still need a sounding board for those “are you kidding me??!!” stories, I’m going to be more intentional about celebrating the wins. I’ll high five my co-parent when a kid says please without being nagged. I’ll send a shoutout when I survive a week of solo parenting without losing my cool (too many times) And hopefully this will open the door for others to feel comfortable sharing in the highlights of their season too. Positivity is contagious.
* Pick the best of that age and relish in it.
This might mean if a little baby just won’t be put down, you snuggle under a blanket with a good book in hand or a Netflix binge cued up and you take one delicious one for the team.
It could also be pushing the double stroller to the park on a Saturday morning and sipping your coffee while the preschoolers play, because you don’t have to be sitting on a ball field for a weekend tournament.
Or maybe you can finally go on a vacation and actually enjoy yourself because you don’t need car seats or portable cribs or diapers or naps.
True, each season comes with its own grief. But it also includes some great perks. Just like sledding in the winter and swimming in the summer, some moments in each season are only enjoyed in that particular time, so celebrate while it’s in season.
So excuse while I go order my PSL, pull out all the flannel and pop an adorbs stocking cap on the tiny one strapped to me. We are only in this season for a short time and its time to practice being in the moment.
What are you loving about your season?