The leaves are changing around here. Something that I appreciate so much having lived in Florida most of my life. I always longed for seasons. October would come around and you could just feel that something was supposed to happen. The air would crisp and the winds would blow and we would sit outside and go, “Ah, Fall.”
We would put on our sweaters in the morning and wear our fuzzy socks and shiver while the car warmed up. By around noon, we were stripping off the layers, and by around 2 o’clock, we would be back to shorts and flip-flops. Countless holidays were spent sipping apple cider or hot cocoa, inside with the air-conditioner blasting. I don’t care how much you love the holidays, it’s just not right to be sweating on Christmas morning.
In the eight months that we have lived here, we have seen just about all the seasons. We saw the dusting of snow upon our mountain while the wood burning stove kept us cozy and warm at the tail end of Winter. We watched everything come back to life almost overnight, new colors and flowers changing before our eyes in the Spring. We heard the vibrance of life all around us when Summer came. The mountain was alive, the river was alive and the humans were in adventure mode. Now the leaves are turning yellow, orange, and red, and the crispness in the air lasts throughout Fall.
It’s been beautiful, and I love it.
And I hate it.
With the Winter, everything was gray, and damp, and dead. I wondered if I would ever feel my toes again. I dreaded going outside for even a moment. In the Spring, the bugs came out. Everything seemed a little swarmy. Once the ground warmed up we learned that the woods were literally crawling with ticks and there weren’t enough chickens in the world to keep them at bay. There was also so much pollen I couldn’t really breathe for three solid months. When people asked how I was adjusting to our new life, my response was almost always, “I’m allergic to Tennessee.”
Summer came with heat. Oh God, it was so freaking hot. The only relief we found was in the river. With the river came the nature and all the scary slimy things.
Then, we were warned about bears, and mountain lions, and wild boar, and coyotes, that were all seen way too close to our little mountain nook of the forest. And seriously, the snakes. People freaking loved to tell me about the snakes. They’re everywhere. Under rocks, in trees, in carports, slithering across the gravel, everywhere. I needed Summer so badly, and then so badly, I needed it to go the hell away.
Fall is amazing, right now. But that will only last for about two weeks. The air is perfect, the leaves are spectacular, and we crave all things pumpkin, all the time. Then those leaves will actually fall. It will rain and get even colder and we will be stuck with all the decomposing mess to clean up. The pumpkins will rot, and all the joy of the new season will rot away with them.
It kind of reminds me of marriage. Every new phase is so exciting. And then the excitement wears off and we are stuck with a reality that we weren’t really prepared for.
Being a newlywed was exciting, sure. I somehow made this person agree to spend the rest of his life with me, and we didn’t have to answer to anyone but each other, and we could adult however we wanted. Then I realized that with all the guilt free sex, and getting to come home to him waiting for me every night, also came with having to share a bathroom with a boy, and having to adjust my sleeping patterns because even though I had never even shared a room with someone before, I now had to share a bed. The personal space that I never knew I needed was gone, for good.
With my lack of personal space came babies. Babies! The most spectacular gift I could receive. The love I never knew I could feel. The knowledge that I would literally crawl over broken glass for this little creature, and that surely no one else on the entire earth had ever created such a perfect child. Until of course I hadn’t slept, showered, or eaten for 48 hours. Then I started to dream about the past, when my body was my own, I slept for 10 uninterrupted hours, and I didn’t worry about every freaking thing. EVERY. FREAKING. THING.
Through out the stages of parenthood, we learned that there is basically nothing we wouldn’t do for our children. They are the reason our heart beats and we wouldn’t trade them for the world. Still, we miss being just married. We love the phase we are in, mourn the past, and look forward to the time when our lives might resemble something a little more our own.
Then one day, all of the kids will be gone. We won’t be handing out money every five seconds, or driving them all over Gods creation. We won’t be yelling at them to “keep it down” or “stop fighting with your sister” or “clean up before I throw everything you own in the garbage.”
We will be, kind of newlyweds again, having to learn how to live together alone. It will be quiet, and I will own a white couch and the floors will be clean. It will be all the things I dream about now, and from what I hear, I’m going to hate it. I’m going to wish I could turn back time and go back to the previous season in life, where there were huge loud teenagers that ate everything in the house and left their laundry on the floor.
The kids that we would try to sneak away from so that we could be alone together, will be the same kids that we call and beg to come home for the weekend so that they can eat our food and we can feel less alone.
When we finally adjust to life being just the two of us, and we embrace the freedom of being independent of most responsibilities, when we get the chance to just adventure and enjoy being together, our babies will have babies and we will never want to be away from them.
Seasons are a blessing and a curse. They are so long and so short at the same time. We crave the change and then mourn the loss of the familiar. We adjust and then they change again. The only thing we can do, is love the now and try to prepare for the future.
I have to love the messy house and taxi cab phase now because even though it drives me crazy on a daily basis, it will be over soon and I won’t be able to go back. I have to prepare for the season of being alone again with my husband so that it doesn’t completely catch us off guard. I have to love these kids and be there for them in what ever way they need so that when the season comes that I ask them to come home, they will want to.
We have to love the season we are in and appreciate it while it’s here, because even though nothing beats those few perfect weeks of fall…
Winter is coming.