Photo Credit: Sara Rolin
It is the Autumn Equinox and although here in Charleston weather-wise, it still very much feels like summer, this signifies a change in seasons.
This year I am feeling this season change really intensely. My daughter turns 4 years old tomorrow. 4 years. I am letting that sink in for a moment. I have been a parent for 4 years. I have grown alongside her. I still remember what it was like to be 4 years old sometimes. She’s such a big girl. In school. Sassy. Spunky. Her teacher told me she has the right amount of spunk and goodness in one amazing package. I cannot think of a better way to describe my sweet girl. 4 years old. Tomorrow. Changing seasons.
The following week my son will be 5 months old. He will start school, and I will return to work. 5 months. 5 months ago both my family and my heart expanded. The last 5 months have been a roller coaster--going by so fast and having so many ups and downs. My head is still swirling from all the magic and feelings of exhilaration and fear. And then “back to work”--but there really is no going back. It will be experiencing work like I have never experienced it before--as a mother of two. Schedules will change. My daughter is now at my school. Days will be longer. Family time will be more precious in the way that things that are rare are precious. Changing seasons.
I recently redid my bedroom decor. I started to think about how my life should reflect my priorities and although that is still a work in progress in a lot of areas of my life---I figured my bedroom decor would be an easy place to start. So I hung up a bunch of family pictures. In one section of my bedroom I have a picture of me holding Mikayla when she was about 2.5 months old. Then adjacent to that frame, I have one of me holding Ryan around the same age. I walk by it everyday and I keep muttering to myself “different seasons”. The picture quite literally represents different seasons as Mikayla’s was taken in late November and I am wearing long sleeves and a scarf. In Ryan’s it is mid July, and I have on a sleeveless dress. Yet there is so much more to that statement and I reflect on it every time I walk by. In Mikayla’s picture, I am holding on tightly to my new baby. The picture depicts a much more serious tone which is indicative of my own parenting journey which began just 4 years ago. Holding on tightly. Fear. Seriousness. In Ryan’s picture, I look lighter and more carefree. I think that’s the look of parenting your second child--more laid back and relaxed. In my summer vs. my winter of parenting. It is also the look of parenting after loss. Between the two I had a miscarriage and I believe that was a game changer that contributed to my perspective. Knowing how fast the first time went by with my oldest and knowing how hard it is to lose something so precious has given me a new joy this time around in motherhood. So just as the seasons were different in the pictures so too am I. Different. Transformed. Changing seasons.
I read somewhere that this equinox is a form of Thanksgiving and a space for gratitude. It is interesting to me because September always feels like a rebirth too--like a spring and a blossoming. I guess it’s the harvest and when we reap the benefits of the seeds we planted in the spring. I have a lot to be grateful for this year, and I am enjoying the “harvest”.
Today was one of those days where I took time to really enjoy the harvest. To enjoy those special moments. To be present.
It is funny because to me none of this writing makes sense sequentially--like I am jumping from the changing seasons to mama warriorhood and yet it all makes sense. It’s all part of the “harvest” and the journey.
So I mention mama warriorhood because I just finished reading Glennon Doyle’s Carry on Warrior, and it spoke to my soul in so many ways. Glennon’s writing is sheer beauty, and I look forward to reading Love Warrior next. In addition to her beautiful writing, shameless truth telling, and unique perspective on the world and life in general, I really like the way she viewed motherhood as a warriorhood. Her essay “Don’t Carpe Diem” is laugh out loud funny but also so true. She also has an excerpt about chronos time vs kairos time which is so beautiful. Kairos time she talks about is like divine time--when everything seems to stop and you truly see things in the way that the Divine sees things. And I believe amid the battlefield that motherhood can bring, today I had a kairos time moment.
Glennon says it better:
“There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time. It’s one minute at a time, staring down the clock until bedtime time. It’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, four screaming minutes in time-out time, two hours until Daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow-passing time we parents often live in. Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them.”
― Glennon Doyle Melton, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed
So I was solo parenting as I do a few times a week due to my husband’s schedule (side bar: I have mad respect for single parents and I am in no way suggesting that I am even close to being a single parent--just pointing out that I feel for the 2 tiny humans on one parent parenting style that comes with doing this thing alone sometimes) and we had no major plans for the day which is both refreshing and terrifying when you are parenting an active almost 4 year old. So we went for a long walk with our dog. Mikayla and Ryan in the wagon--Bauer on the leash. And we ended up at these nearby apartments in our neighborhood. Over the summer when I was doing this solo parenting gig a lot, we would end up here. Free entertainment. I feel like a squatter sometimes because we don’t actually belong to these apartments but they have provided shade, solace, and entertainment for our family on many an occasion. There are rocking chairs and a pool (which we do not have the code to because we are not members--but can make for some fun for people watching), a bathroom, water fountains (bubblahs for my MA peeps), etc. So from time to time we end up hanging at these apartments and today was one of those days.
There is a section that has comfortable couches outside under shade and fans and today that was our spot of choice. Mikayla was very entertained by the couch cushions and fortunately had like 4 small stuffed animals (her “babies) with her so they made forts and played. Bauer settled next to me on the floor, grateful for some shade. And Ryan just wanted to be cuddled, a pastime that I always enjoy but especially when I know after this week--my last week of maternity leave--will be a lot less frequent. And I had my copy of Carry on Warrior with me, and so while everyone else was settled and enjoying life, I thought let me take advantage of this moment too. And I read, snuggled up with my baby, watching my big girl play, and my puppy enjoying the shade.
It was so nice ---and time seemed to really standstill. We were all in flow--all enjoying ourselves. At one point, 3 young to me girls (probably in their 20’s) walked by to go to the pool and they stopped and commented “aww they are all so cute. Oh wait she even has a baby on her. OMG!”. I said “this scenario is really working out for us right now”. And it was. For right now. And I felt really proud and excited. I know that these moments in motherhood are rare and precious. When you get a minute to yourself amid the chaos and while you get to simultaneously be with your babies---all of you enjoying both individual time and togetherness--and that’s what made it all the more special.
As I said it was the last day of my big girl being 3 years old. It may be one of the last times that we are all together like this before I go back to work and my son starts school.
I have always liked the saying “you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” and I know that this moment will be one that I will treasure for a long while.
Enjoying the harvest. Feeling gratitude for the journey. That’s what this Autumn Equinox, and really our lives in general, are all about.
Seasons will change. Life will move fast. And I decided that moments like today’s are meant to be cherished.