As I sit here in my driveway on this Labor Day afternoon, watching my youngest splash around in her kiddie pool without a worry in the world, I can’t help but feel a tinge of bittersweet reflection. I live in Atlanta, GA, where summer actually lasts until about mid-October, but there’s something about Labor Day weekend that is symbolic; it marks the end of one season and the beginning of the next, even though the seasons themselves actually fade into one another.
That’s how motherhood is, isn’t it? A constant and gradual change from one season to the next? Sometimes you can see the end happening, and sometimes you wake up and wonder where it all went. You never really realize when the last of something occurs – the mispronunciation of a word, carrying them around a certain way (or at all), sloppy baby kisses (on the lips, of course), or playing with a certain toy – until you look back and can’t remember the last time it happened. It’s a blessing and a curse, I suppose; if we knew it was the last time maybe we would treasure it more. But, if we knew it was the last time maybe we would spend our days grieving all the lasts rather than embracing the firsts.
As this Labor Day weekend winds down, I’m thankful that GA living allows summer to continue just a little longer; that I don’t have to say “goodbye” to Sweet E’s adorable seahorse bathing suit just yet. Although, my mama heart aches knowing that the time is near. The physical seasons ahead are my favorite: fall colors and leaves, sweaters and boots, pumpkin patches, giving thanks, Santa Claus, and the birth of Jesus. I hope my girls enjoy these things as much as I do. The mama-seasons ahead include clearly pronounced words, more sass than I can probably ever anticipate, a full-and-exciting grasp on Christmas (by A), and increased levels of independence.
I’ll never know for sure when something will be the last time, but I hope to cherish the moments – those special and seemingly ordinary alike – as though they are. It’s hard. I have remind myself of this when Lady A wants me to carry her and when Sweet E wants her pacifier or bottle. It’s easy to say no, but one day these days will be gone. One day my babies will be grown up and will leave me. One day this season will end. Maybe I’ll see it happening. Maybe I won’t. But just as the seasons of the year inevitably come to an close – fading from one into another – so do the seasons of motherhood.
Fall may be my favorite season of the year, but being a mom of two little girls who need me has been my favorite season of this life.
Fade slowly, sweet season.