For Everything There Is a Season
Despite high levels of neglect this summer, my garden is still churning out some bounty. Gardening is one of those things I'm filing under: things-I-will-do-better-when-I'm-not-raising-a-bunch-of-babies. It's hard for me, as a classic Type A person, to remember that there are seasons for everything in life. Of course no one knows what the future holds, but it is much less stressful for me to flip the "life is short/maximize every moment" mentality to "life is long."
When I was going through yoga teacher training years ago, I carpooled with an older woman who was very accomplished in her career, well-traveled, and well-read. (She was also an expert shopper and had the beauty department at Neiman Marcus on speed dial.) But before all of that, she had taken time "off" to raise her son. She wisely told me that "you can do it all, just not all at once." And I find so much freedom in that, especially in such an all-consuming season of life where there is little time/energy/sometimes money left over for personal pursuits.
Years ago I was talking to a recently-retired woman who was regaling me with all the traveling she's done, and she told me, "If you don't knit before retirement, you won't knit during retirement" to illustrate that who you are is a constant. But I sort of really disagree with this. My mom just picked up knitting last year, and she's amazing at it! With both of her children out of the house, she has time to devote to it.
There are so many things I would love to do and accomplish, but it's way too much pressure to think about taking them on right now. I have to remember that, God willing, there will be time for taking better care of a garden, for taking all the yoga classes I want, for picking up ballet again. Time to leisurely cook nicer meals, travel a bunch, SLEEP. Now is not the time in life to have a great wardrobe, jam-packed weekends, or do as much entertaining as I'd like.
But instead of being frustrated about that, I'm usually pretty content knowing that there is so much beauty to THIS phase of life, with smushy babies who say and do the cutest stinking things. Who need me desperately, to care for their every need. Who, despite being so exhausting and sometimes frustrating, I can't stop looking at pictures of once they've gone to sleep. I am grateful for this quiet yet crazy phase of life, and for the privilege of getting to do this important work.
I know that as soon as I don't have children hanging all over my body as I'm trying to cook dinner, I'll probably be a little sad about it. And I can't even think about when everyone is so independent that the house feels quiet again. That will probably force me to get a dog or some chickens or cook elaborate meals just to feel useful! There is something freeing in having limitations; I just think the key is recognizing them, respecting them, finding joy in what CAN be done, and knowing that soon enough everything will change.