Last year, our two apple trees were teeming with apples. We had more apples than we knew what to do with and I had to resort to letting our neighbor shovel wheelbarrows full of rotting apples out to the woods for the deer.
This year, like the rest of the state, we have no apples.
Not one single apple made it onto our apple tree. An unseasonably warm March brought all of the apple blossoms to life, and then the cruel frost that followed quickly blotted them out. I kept hoping that just one–just one small apple would make its appearance, a rebel among the waste–but not one survived.
It’s weird, isn’t it…how one year brings fruit overbearing, branches heavy-laden and bent to the ground with delicious life, and the next year proves barren?
I feel like lately, I am struggling with the seasons of motherhood. The past four years of childbearing, bringing three lives into the world in what felt like a whirlwind of always-trying-to-catch-my-breath. Moving house, Masters degree, new career, starting school, baby after baby…
And then there’s me. Plodding on down the road of motherhood. Which lately, in a way, feels like I’m standing still.
Waiting and holding my breath for time.
Time to pursue goals.
Time to dream.
Time to take a leisurely shower.
I want to be doing more. Writing more. Creating more. Living more.
But it’s not my season for all of that.
My season is simply here. In the rhythms of soft skin against skin, nap times and tea parties. In trips that take an hour to get out the door. In grocery shopping and constant cleaning and putting on little shoes and always responding to “Mama, watch!”
I know that I’ve been falling short at home. It’s the little things. Taking a walk with my girls tonight, my mind was on a million other things rather than the feeling of the soft little hand in mine, the big brown eyes peering up at me, the questions bubbling over as she walked–that funny, jagged, little walk that only one girl in the world can pull off. During nap time, playing a card game with my non-napper, losing track of my turn, Ada skipping off to play in the corner, giving up on my half-hearted attempts. Frustration mounting in my voice on the phone with my husband, feelings I can’t voice about a stagnation I can’t describe.
My frustrations with the slow pace of my life right now has surfaced in distraction in my daily life. I’m distracted with where I want this small little blog to go, always sneaking away into the office for another article on improving my writing, more research, another mom to connect with. I can tell when I have been inattentive, with the girls restless, fighting more than usual. The house itself too is showing effects–laundry piling up, tension building with the husband, dinners unprepared and dragging into the late evening hours.
As I stared at the empty branches of our apple trees tonight, I thought about how this time in my life–this time of small arms wrapped around me and quiet afternoons and pushes on the swings–this time is not forever. Already, with Ada’s two-day-a-week preschool, I see the end of the freedom we have had here at home–the freedom to lay on our rug and color the morning away, to take a walk in the cool morning air, to bake cookies just because we can. Too soon there will be homework and field trips and permission slips and after-school activities.
This time is just a season. One of the many of motherhood. There will be times of blossoming and times of harvest and times of incredible beauty. But there will also be times of seemingly emptiness. Times of waiting. Times of hoping and praying for what remains hidden.
This, my season of motherhood.
Maybe I can’t do all the things I want to do. Maybe I can’t become the writer I want to be righthissecond. Maybe my house will be messy and my marriage in need of a little TLC. Maybe I can’t work out as much as I want or actually cook the things I pin on Pinterest…
But there are a lot of things I can do.
And it’s starts with appreciating the season I am in right now. Because while I’m busy lamenting my lack of apples, I may be missing out on what I have instead.