End of Summer Reflections

Summer is drawing to a slow close. The daylight hours are slipping away earlier. Mothers like me are cleaning out closets, gathering their children’s school supplies and figuring out the schedule for the coming months. Perhaps we are all longing for a little less spontaneity and vacationing in favor of routine, stability, and the comforts of home as we begin to retreat back.

I admit, this summer has left me tired instead of refreshed. It was a whirlwind of a “break” and I’m glad to be part of cycles that pull us in and spit us out into the next phase before we know we know we’re done with the old one. Seasons, friendships, school, commitments, children’s developmental milestones; doesn’t it seem like change often comes at just the right time—when we’re at the end of our ropes?

Our fall will mean I’m back at work, teaching nursing clinicals for the local university. It will mean many appointments and decisions for the house we’re building. It will mean a 2nd grader, Kindergartener, 4K’er and one loquacious tot at home. I hope it will mean new opportunities to serve our community and grow in faith. I’m thankful for the busy season coming; all of these commitments mean life is full and fertile, like the late August gardens my friends keep blessing me with produce from.

We had one last chance to do something on my loosely held “Summer Bucket List,” so yesterday morning we packed lunches at headed the 45 minutes away to Bookworm Gardens. Though my kids were suspicious both about the length of the car ride (clearly roadtrip lightweights) and spending the morning in a garden, we were all blown away.

It may be almost a perfect place; it combines beautiful nature, all things books, and creative artistry. From their website:

Bookworm Gardens is a vibrant, playful garden that enhances children’s literature, the natural world, and the imagination. The two acre garden offers the young and young at heart the opportunity for free, unstructured play in a beautiful and secure environment.

We took a million pictures, this isn’t even half of them—and they don’t really do the space justice.

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Lovely, isn’t it?

Even though this was a hard summer parenting-wise because of the constant requests and needs of 4 young kids, I realize the termination of this particular summer season will also soon mean that my constant influence is winding down, too. With the mothering cycle moving from “the baby years” to the “the elementary years,” I can see that friendships and the school environment are going to become a central influence in my kids lives very soon. The relief that will come probably by next summer with gained independence (and possibly 4 potty trained) kids, will mean we’re leaving the phase where I’m everything to them. So I sit on the edge of summer and fall and the baby and school aged children, wondering if I’ve done enough but knowing I’ll probably never feel like I have.

Though I’m carrying the heaviness of weariness and doubt, I’m also feeling the possibilities that are coming, for the kids and me. This fall will offer me 2 solid hours of time where the three oldest are at school and the youngest is napping. I can read, write, grade, dream, and pray without interruption. My heart and brain are really ready for that. And my kids will be challenged socially, mentally, and emotionally in the courses of their days away from home.

As summer winds down, may you be encouraged in the cycles of life. If summer was hard, it’s almost over. If it was good, newness and change will bring fresh possibilities. I’m glad we serve of God of cycles and seasons.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Comments

  1. I’m so glad you got to Bookworm Gardens! I am very much in the same boat as you with regards to the changing seasons of life. Next year, after years of homeschooling, I may be entering a new phase with all my children in school, leaving me the opportunity to pursue a career outside of motherhood.

    As always, beautifully written. 🙂

  2. Cathy Wheeler says:

    I love the seasons, too. Just in time you are rescued from whatever it is you can hardly stand one more day- heat, freezing snow, chilly winds, muggy humidity. Nice writing, Heidi, not to mention the pictures of those innocent, beautiful faces of the kids.

  3. I love this blog about the seasons… as much as I don’t appreciate how long and cold Wisconsin winters are, I like the change of pace it brings and the opportunities to be cozy – fires and hot chocolate while watching the snow fall, etc. When Spring finally does arrive (about 2 -3 mos. after I’m ready for
    It), I appreciate it so much… every nice day through Spring, Summer, and Fall until it comes again! It’s good to think about how that relates to parenting – the hard times do help us appreciate the easier ones. ☺️

  4. LOVE your new header!

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