Raising Kids: Beauty, Emptiness and Seasons of Change
The sun is shining and there’s a breeze in the air. Leaves flutter to the ground, landing beside a few plants still growing in the dry, empty garden. Flowers will bloom a while longer ’til summer turns to fall.
The scene mirrors my heart. We moved our second child into college this week. He was ready. He finished high school well – good grades, good friends, good choices and good character.
A bountiful harvest.
Settling into a new normal, life feels dry and empty even though we still have two teenage boys to raise. Just like the seasons changing around me, life is also changing…subtly, simply and quietly.
For a gardener, harvest is a busy time. You have to pick, can and freeze garden produce for the winter months. You’re so busy working you forget how fragile the plants were when you tended them from seed. You forget how you protected them from the early frost. You forget the energy it took watering them during dry spells so they could germinate and grow. You’re relieved the hoeing and weeding is no longer needed.
It’s so much like parenting.
You start with tender little seeds, each a different variety that matures at different times of the growing season. Some need water and sun at just a certain time. Others require work to keep the weeds out so they can bear fruit when in season.
Sending a child to college or helping them launch a new life after high school is a parent’s harvest time. The time and energy spent raising a child is over. As each child leaves home, your garden gets smaller and emptier until the growing season is done.
The laws of nature tell me seasons are changing. They tell me it’s time for my firstborn to spread her wings next spring as she looks for jobs in faraway places. They tell me it’s time for College Boy to make new friends and grow into his own. They tell me it’s time for the younger boys to develop and be all they’re designed to be.
Like a garden in mid-season. Portions harvested, some still growing, and part of it empty.
I bought some mums today. They are bright and beautiful with autumn colors. They’re a reminder not to look at the empty garden, but to grab hold of what is designed to grow in the next season.
Will you join me in grabbing hold of the parenting season you’re in? It’s tempting to stay stuck in the barren places, grieving and longing for what was. Nature says there’s beauty in every season.
I need to continue planting, sowing and reaping no matter the season of family life and so do you.
Will you join me in looking for the beauty in your season? What are you struggling with in your season of parenting? How can you embrace the changes happening in your family?
Let’s plant, sow and reap like never before because this season only lasts for a short time. Where do you need to find its beauty?
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