July 22, 2010
Most of the flowers blooming in my yard this time of year are either purple, yellow or white. I didn't necessarily intend it that way (in years past I've spent time planning my perennial beds) but as certain perennials have died and others have taken over those are the colors that remain.
The purple echinacea and yellow sunflower are two plants with particular poignancy for me. These flowers carry us through into fall and although they are blooming now, in the height of summer, they take my imagination to autumn. To a time of fallen leaves, cooler temperatures and new beginnings.
Why can't I just live in the moment of summer without looking ahead to the fall? Just thinking about it makes me melancholy. For Pete's sake, it's not even August and I'm already mourning the loss of summer!
It's not just the echinacea that's giving me a touch of melancholy though. It's my beautiful children. These blossoms of mine that are growing faster than weeds and in no time at all be taller than me, just like my backyard sunflowers. How did this happen?
I have felt for some months now a keening in my heart. A deeper awareness of the time with my children that has past and the few precious years I have left. I've counted. We're half way through this business of parenting our children till they are adults. Eleven years have passed with Celine and we have eleven more with Brienne till she is eighteen, nine more for Laurent. We're smack dab in the middle of this parenting-through-childhood gig and it's throwing me for a little loop.
This season of life for our family is lot like summer. The seeds were planted during "spring"; those baby, toddler and preschool years when we established love, trust and discipline (to name just a few).
Now we are enjoying the beautiful blossoms from those years of tending and weeding our children's hearts. These days for our family are mostly warm and sunny, a season of intense growth and fun with some rainy days in between.
I know that summer isn't a time to just sit around and watch the flowers bloom, metaphorically and literally. There is weeding still to be done and preparations to be made for fall and winter. And I feel that responsibility deeply as I look ahead to the young adult years.
However, even as I revel in warm days, fresh berries and trips to the beach, I know summer won't last. We will move into other seasons of life with their own unique beauty and treasures. And I look forward with anticipation to the years ahead when the relationship with our children will grow into friendship.
But right now the season is childhood and it's in full bloom. And it's beautiful, so much more beautiful than any garden flower.
My summer melancholy.
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