The older I get, the more I appreciate the more moderate seasons. This year, I am downright in love with Fall. Of course as a homeschooler, summer doesn't hold the excitement that it probably would if Aiden was in school all year. And winter? Winter is for the birds (or rather I wish I could migrate south like a bird when it arrives!). Give me Fall and Spring and I am a happy girl.
I definitely feel like my season of life the past year or so has been anything but a moderate season. It feels like it has been an endless cycle of difficult times and challenging situations. Just over the past week, it seems as if things are finally starting to change a bit. Like the promise of falling leaves, I can see signs of a quieter time popping up around me. This Fall I see signs of change in places other than the trees, though. I see it in the changing smile of a little boy who is growing up. As he loses his baby teeth, he also seems to be losing some of his dependence on me. That can be hard on a mama. I have struggled with it over the first half of this year, and it has taken until now for me to start accepting the idea of having a boy who is not quite my baby anymore.
My changing relationship with Aiden has challenged me as a mother, but it has also provided opportunities for me to look at who I am as a wife - and as a women beyond the walls of our home. When he was little, I was so consumed by the (often exhausting) need to be "on" 24/7 that I definitely lost focus a bit in other areas. Now, I am seeing glimpses of how someday I will find myself without a child needing daily attention, and it makes me think of how I invest my time in other areas. I don't regret for a moment devoting myself fully to the role of mother, but I do see how perhaps having that singular focus left other areas of life unattended. I am entering into a new season of life, and with the changing of seasons always comes some maintenance and preparation.
I have definitely felt moved to spend a good part of that preparation time investing in my marriage, and concentrating on how I can grow as a wife moving into this new season. Parenting can crowd out some important things like intentional time together if we aren't careful. This week I started trying to make more of an effort to really connect with my husband by getting up super early to have coffee and pray with him before he leaves for work. Aiden is such a night owl that evenings have never been easy for me and Matt to have time together. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to realize that one possible answer was for me to just get up earlier. I am not super excited about being up so early, but it is certainly worth it to have that face time and prayer time each day.
It may seem a bit premature to be thinking about what life will be like for me and Matt when Aiden is grown. After all, he is only six years old! Yet I know that taking better care of our marriage now is about more than preparing for the day when we (theoretically) become "empty nesters." It is also about having a unified vision for our family as we continue to move into the territory of raising a child who has his own ideas and emotions and (someday all too soon) hormones to deal with. Gone are the toddler days when discipline was mostly about distraction and redirection. Now we have this huge task of providing this little boy with deeper understanding of what it means to live life as a child of God. This is such an important time for us to be firmly united as husband and wife, and dedicated to promoting family unity.
While life is by no means easy right now, I do feel like I am more at peace perhaps than I have been for a while now. It isn't anything I can put my finger on, but I know that having the peace of God is way past my understanding most of the time. I find myself very conscious of how precious each day is lately, and how I want to really focus on living instead of just getting through each day. Whether that means an extra game of chess, a trip to the park, or just silly snuggles and stories, I know that these precious days with a little boy counting on me will not last forever. Like the vibrant orange leaves on my favorite autumn tree, I need to appreciate them now. And all the better if I do so with my amazing husband right beside me. Families are such an incredible blessing, no matter the season! (But I could still live without winter coming anytime soon... ha!)