Friday's Flowers ~ My Summer Melancholy

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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  • Jenn

    Jenn on July 23, 2010, 2:44 a.m.

    OK, OK, I know mine aren't cut flowers. But that's because they are not really ~ for cutting plants! Hope it's OK that I bent the rules!


  • Karen

    Karen on July 23, 2010, 1:38 p.m.

    Your photos are spectacular (I especially love the last one) and your thoughts on the blossom-parallel very well put. Take heart, however, your children are/will be everlasting flowers in your garden of life.


  • Rana

    Rana on July 23, 2010, 1:41 p.m.

    That was a beautiful post. You shouldn't be melancholy these are times to celebrate. I know you are thankful for what you have and the beautiful children you are raising. I just don't want to see anyone feeling low about the changing of these seasons.

    I'm smack dab in the season of little people and I embrace it and them everyday. I love watching them grow and learn.

    Have a great weekend Renee!


    • renee

      renee on July 24, 2010, 12:02 p.m.

      No worries Rana I'm not a droopy melancholy sort of person. I think I'm pretty good at embracing the everyday and literally embracing my children and their present stage. But I can't help but reflect on the years that have passed and those yet to come.

      And to be honest, I like a little melancholy now and then (smile). It's a reflective feeling for me, I heightened awareness of the passing of time and my relationships with the people I love.


  • Earth Mama

    Earth Mama on July 23, 2010, 5:32 p.m.

    I get all sappy when I think my kids are growing up too quick. I count the years sometimes too. For some reason that 1/2 way mark kills me. Thanks for writing these beautiful words today.



  • Naomi Kilbreth

    Naomi Kilbreth on July 23, 2010, 6:25 p.m.

    I just happened to be listening to Jules Massenet when I came to your page. That's the perfect music for a story about summer melancholy and brought even more life to your beautiful flowers for me. And I may not be in the middle of my parenting years (especially if I end up having more) but I can certainly relate to the feeling you describe. That's probably more the result of being postpartum and possibly "that time of the month" than anything else though, lol.


  • Claudia

    Claudia on July 24, 2010, 9:49 a.m.

    Another beautiful, timely post Renee. As another birthday looms for me and a big one is coming up for my husband, the seasons of life have definitely been weighing heavy on our brains lately. In conversation this past week with my son, it became clear he will be off to university in barely more years than he has been here with us--a ridiculous realization with a 7 year old, but I know the time will go by so very fast.

    Thank you for sharing your summer melancholy and for your looking-toward-fall-in-the-middle-of-summer confession. It helps knowing I'm not the only one! :)


  • Francesca

    Francesca on July 25, 2010, 5:59 a.m.

    What a beautiful post Renee, and what beautiful photos of your children. I also find that I'm already mourning the loss of summer and dreading the upcoming fall in 6 whole weeks (at least). And the season of life for our family ... beautifully written.


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