Yesterday, a cold front moved into my neck of the woods, literally overnight. Where there had been 85 degree weather only days before, rain poured and the thermometer struggled to make it into the 40’s. That’s springtime in the mid-west.
As I stood at my kitchen window, opening cans to make my 3-bean chili, (because I don’t care what the calendar says, cold weather means hot chili) I watched the rain pour down. I strained my eyes to examine the newly planted basil and tomatoes, standing vulnerable in my garden. Like the over flowing bird baths, worries began to flood my thoughts. Had I released them from the shelter of my sunroom too soon? Will they make it through the night? Is it warm enough out there? Should I cover them with a bucket? Or a blanket? Or a jacket? Do they have their cell phones?
OK, so clearly I’m a bit overprotective of my metaphorical little babies, in a twisted, garden-obssessed, neurotic sort of way. I left my chili-making duties and checked the forecast. No below freezing temps anywhere in the days ahead. I released a sigh of relief, then I remembered that springtime is always like this; two steps forward, one step back.
Not that God needs my props, but I gotta say, He sure got spring and fall right. They are perfected transitional seasons. Springtime eases us into the shirt-drenching heat of summer, and fall gently edges us into the windshield-scraping freezes of winter. Just last weekend, I was given a taste, a two-day, weekend-full, springtime taste of summer’s scorch. Leaves suddenly burst forth from dormant grape vines, the local garden center buzzed with activity, and long-sleeved tees were cast aside in favor of tank tops and garden clogs. Two steps forward.
Then a rain/snow/hail mix swept down from the north. Windows stayed closed, the fireplace heated the living room, hot chocolate warmed my children’s souls, and the scent of simmering chili filled the air. One step back.
With crystal clarity it hit me; I am in the springtime of my parenting–marriage–life journey; a path filled with steps forward and steps back. In the last two weeks, I have received 7 high school graduation announcements. Yesterday, I picked one up and thought, “High school graduation definitely counts as two huge steps forward.” It marks the closing of a chapter for parent and child. This, of course, led me to think of my oldest, who (thankfully) doesn’t graduate for another year. One (mental) step back. Last weekend, my husband and I spent 6 fabulous, uninterrupted hours together. Our children are obviously old enough to be left alone for hours, even overnight, without a babysitter. Two giant steps forward. However, looking ahead on a calendar packed with kids’ events, I realize it may be at least a month before we get another extended date night. One step back. And, at this point in my life, I finally can carve out time in my daily schedule for writing. Two steps forward. Nonetheless, homeschooling, children’s activities, time for my husband and friends, client calls and projects, errands, chores, etc. often take priority over my writing, which should explain the irregularity of my posts. One step back.
Springtime, like this season in my life, is a time of flux; one day hot and sunny, another cold and rainy. I can’t control the weather, but I can roll with it, knowing it will change. This is my transition–steps forward, steps back, steps toward change.