Arranging the Pieces: The changing seasons of life and motherhood

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By Tabitha Bozeman

As the season shifts from summer to fall, I am energized by the cool mornings, the changing leaves and the wind whipping through the tops of the pines. I’ve never mourned the loss of summer because I hate the heat of it. I will admit that I do miss the summer twilights when the sky seems to lower itself and cover everything in an electric blue veil. I miss those long, lightning bug-filled evenings, but I do not mourn them. There are holidays to look forward to and plan, and I know summer will return in a few months. There is a comforting aspect to the predictability of seasonal change.

There is also predictability in the seasons of life, although these seasons are here and then gone. And, although we spend a lot of time preparing for many of them, we do not always mark the beginnings or endings, much less celebrate them.

I have found myself thinking a lot about these changing seasons lately as friends and family have babies, retire, prepare to welcome grandchildren or celebrate a child’s marriage. Sometimes these new seasons creep up slowly, and sometimes they arrive with little to no warning. They arrive, though, and we adjust and continue on.

This year has been a full season for me as a mother. My son, my first baby, turned 21 during the heat of this past summer. This week, my oldest daughter turns 14. My babies will be 11 and 9 by the end of the year. My season as a mother to young children is nearly over. I will always be a mother, but I will only be needed in the same ways I am now for a few more, very brief years. Then, a season of change as my relationships with my children evolve, and I will have to learn how to live in the next season of my life.

Is this a season I want to end? Not at all. But will it? Certainly. And, I know from listening to the women before me that I will miss it, even mourn its passing. I also know from many of those same women that the next season has much beauty of its own to look forward to and celebrate. As I intentionally spend time with my children, I often think about the transition I will face in the not-too-distant future.

Last weekend, I watched as a dear mother-friend celebrated her son’s marriage. It was a beautiful celebration of the next season of life for the young couple, and a reminder that active, daily parenting is only a season. Celebrating this young couple was also a reminder that we can all continuously plan for the next season of life, that we can explore who we are and who we want to be as we move from one season to the next. Most of all, it reminded me to celebrate the beauty of each season.

Ralph Waldo Emerson re-minds us that “not the sun or summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight.” Finding the delight in each season–the too-brief, the difficult, the ones we wish would last forever-finding something to celebrate can be challenging. I’ve decided to try to celebrate changing seasons, not just in other’s lives but in my own, as well. I’m not sure what that will look like, but I know a few people I can count on to give me ideas and celebrate with me, which is its own thing to celebrate.

Tabitha Bozeman lives in Gadsden with her family, and teaches English at Gadsden State Community College, where she is the editor-in-chief of the Cardinal Arts Journal. The opinions expressed in this column are her own. To contact her, email tabithabozeman@gmail.com.

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