The morning rush can be pretty hectic at my house – trying to wrangle three kids and two parents out of the house with lunches, backpacks, and all the necessities by 7:45 can cause even the calmest among us (me!) to start the car with borderline rage or panic.
But this Spring, something unexpected happened, and the morning changed for me. The commute from our house to school includes a drive past Audubon Park and Tulane University on St. Charles Avenue. Starting in about the middle of April, I looked up mid-commute to the most beautiful sight. The azaleas at the entrance to Tulane’s campus were putting on an absolute show, their hot pink and fuchsia blooms contrasting sharply against the green grass and gray stone buildings. It took my breath away, to be honest. It seemed that the blossoms opened overnight. Over the next few weeks, I found myself looking forward to my morning commute, excited for another glimpse of the beauty literally unfolding before my eyes. And then, less suddenly they appeared, the burst of color faded, and the bright, beautiful hues were replaced with luscious, green foliage.
I was reminded through this season of watching the blooms unfurl to expose their beauty, and then fade back into the background, how much the different seasons of our kids’ lives are like this. I looked up recently and realized by “baby” is no longer a baby, or even a toddler. He’s becoming a “little kid.” He’s started talking in sentences and singing songs and telling jokes all at the same time. (Yes, I realize he hasn’t been a baby for some time, and maybe these changes didn’t actually happen overnight.) Maybe I was too busy with the daily details of schedules and laundry and dinner to see the tiny glimpses of these big changes. But all at once, I can’t help but notice them. And to stand in awe of the beauty of my boy’s growth. He’s truly entering a new phase. And now that I have realized the change, I’m doing my very best to enjoy this phase while he’s in it. I want to savor his silly songs and not-quite-grammatically-correct sentences. I want to take videos to capture his little voice. I want to make all the notes on my phone to commemorate all the funny things he says. Because just as quickly as this phase has started, it will be over. My boy will have mastered basic sentences and will move on to the next phase.
I don’t write this to shame myself (or any of us) for being distracted. We moms have so much going on, there is no wonder we sometimes spend more time looking at the ground in front of us – or the planner and weekly calendar that helps keep our family’s life together- that we miss small signs of change. I just hope that I can remember the azaleas, and that we can all pause more regularly, and look up to see our kids and how they are changing. And then that we can stop, and actually enjoy the phase while we’re in it, not wishing for the last phase or the next one, but to be joyfully present in the present.
So what about you? What phase is your family currently in? What new interests do your kids have? What is changing in them? How can you engage them in it? How can you commemorate this season?