We got our first taste of fall last weekend here in South Carolina. The temperatures dropped to the mid-60s at night, and we slept with the windows open. That was one of the best nights' sleep I'd gotten in ages - and not just because I have a four-month-old.
Nothing fires up my heart and makes me happier than the changing of the seasons. I really, really don't like summer, so the arrival of fall is particularly welcome. Maybe it's just the memory of all the years of going back to school, but the transition from summer to fall makes me feel so alive, so hopeful, so motivated, and joyous. Pumpkin spice cappuccinos don't hurt, either.
But though I love the changing of the seasons weather-wise, when seasons change in my own life I fight it tooth and nail.
I resisted pregnancy. Oh, I wanted a baby. I thought. Maybe. But I was also paralyzed with fear. Admittedly, a lot of that fear was directed at childbirth, and some of it was warranted (38 hours of labor, including six hours of pushing, leading to an eventual C-section - that's all I'll say about that).
But another big part of it was fear of a new season. Of what my life would look like. What my marriage would look like. What my home, schedule, priorities, and body would look like. I was terrified because I had no idea.
Now I do.
Four and a half months out, things are still ever-evolving. Just when I think I've got a grip on what my sweet Graham is doing, he changes. But despite my nine months of resistance (and corresponding misery), I am loving this season of new motherhood.
I'm more tired than I've ever been in my life, more than I ever even knew was possible. My mind is constantly racing, anticipating the next need, the next move, the next project. I'm worried a lot, nervous a lot, and constantly second-guessing myself and my choices. But I already feel like I'm a better version of myself. Having a baby taking up the majority of your time forces you to abandon the fluff and drill down to the core of yourself.
Reading, a burning desire to travel, the impossible-to-ignore push to write things, to pull out our trusty 9-year-old Macbook Pro and type up a blog post to send to you - I thought these things would disappear once I had a baby. That he would be my sole focus. But instead, Graham gave me the gift of myself. Granted, this version of myself is often unshowered, rarely dressed in more than shorts and a t-shirt, snacks on Bambas and cocoa batons (facepalm) and is frequently late to things. But that transformation is priceless.
A new baby isn't the only thing that forces a season change, a heart change. Going to college, starting a new job, losing a job, moving to a new city (or country), marriage, divorce, loss of a loved one: they all pull you into a vacuum and strip away the unnecessary, the posturing, the things you're doing to cultivate your "image" or to please others.
Whenever our time and energy are pressed, our true self begins to emerge. And painful or scary as it may be, it's usually beautiful. So as the fall temperatures (hopefully) show up wherever you are - and heavens, I'm praying they stick around here in Greer - let your true self shine through. You won't regret it.