This post was written as a journal-entry of sorts shortly after the birth of our second son. I’m sharing it, now, as I still find the message relevant to my experience of motherhood.
Hanging on the wall above my computer – among the jumble of inspirational quotes, photographs of my husband and our babies, and images that make up the hopes and dreams of my vision board – is a picture of a woman I cut out of a magazine.
There’s a baby at her breast. She’s smiling and well put together. Not a single hair is out of place, there are no dark circles under her eyes, and I can’t find a trace of milk or spit-up anywhere on her pretty blouse.
Beneath her, I pasted these words: survive the season.
Even though I know this woman from my magazine – the poster child for successful motherhood – isn’t real life, she’s there to remind me to laugh at myself, and remember the intensity of this season is just that: a season.
Our sweet, littlest boy has been with us for nearly six months, now.
The weeks since he was born have been a blur of baby smells, smiles and tears, soft skin, diaper changes, snuggles, the push and pull of nursing, and very little sleep.
To be completely honest, I’m still exhausted from it all. Pooped, really.
Bringing life into this world (not just creating it, but learning how to nurture it) is unraveling.
Now that my firstborn is nearly three, walking, talking, sleeping through the night, feeding and dressing himself, and going to the bathroom all on his own, I have a teeny tiny (and, I stress teeny tiny) bit of perspective on the earliest months and years.
This – the restless nights, the sometimes seemingly endless days, the constant giving of myself that comes along with caring for brand new life – is not going to last forever.
I know, a little too soon, maybe, the winds will begin to shift to let us know change is on it’s way, and, then, suddenly, we’ll wake up one day to find ourselves in a new season – a warmer one, maybe, with a little bit of green (the fruits of our labor) in the trees.
New storms will come, of course (they always do), but rain encourages growth.
On the harder days (like today), when I find myself feeling like a seed lying dormant in the dirt, just waiting for the right time to burst open, I try to remember – although it’s often easier said than done – to have patience with myself and my children, and trust that something wonderful and progressive is happening to each one of us deep underground where we can’t see.
There will be springs and summers of outward growth, sunshine, and rest, but I believe the trying seasons in between are good and nourishing.
They cultivate us from the inside out.
“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” – 1 Corinthians 3:7, NIV
If you’re weathering a trying kind of season, right now – whether you’re weary from raising little (or bigger) ones, worried about money, hanging on through a deployment or hectic family schedule, struggling to make difficult life choices, pushing through long days at work, dealing with sickness of the body or mind, or trying to fit the pieces of a broken heart or relationship back together – I’m thinking of you today.