Seasons in Life

Since I recently wrote about missing the baby and toddler years and being so busy with our schedule, I began reminding myself of how blessed I really am. I do this when I get on my pity pot about something. I whine and complain and then a little voice gives me this annoying pep talk about how I am so blessed to have healthy children, or a steady job, or a roof over my head, etc. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I’ve actually been thinking this next thought for a while and I’m nervous to say it out loud for fear of tempting fate.

Life is easy right now. I mean, really easy. My kids take their own showers, pour their own cereal, dress themselves. They clean bathrooms. It’s amazing. My husband and I have made some good financial decisions which have us comfortably living within our means and still able to take vacations and splurge on sushi. We like each other (most days) and make dates a priority. We all have FUN together. We are healthy, our jobs are steady, the kids are doing brilliantly in school. Life is beyond good.

Do I deserve an easy season? Hell yes. I’ve had a few tough ones. I spent my senior year in high school and first year in college with a mom dying from cancer and then breaking up with a boyfriend who I thought was the one. To be blunt, it sucked. All of my memories of senior ball, turning 18, my senior trip, and planning for college, are all tainted with this gray cloud. At 20 I moved out with no option to ever move back home because my dad moved in with his fiancé where there was definitely no invitation to set up shop. For my 21st birthday I got a used, two-year-old stereo that my dad no longer needed because of this move. I worked a ton to pay my rent, car payment and food. That was a pretty rough season.

When I was 30ish we were riding the wave of a great real estate economy, until it crashed, hard. A big house payment, a loss in pay with both our jobs and the arrival of our second child was beyond stressful. We sold a car, turned down the thermostat, clipped coupons, I knew exactly what it cost to drive anywhere and planned trips wisely. We got by and made ends meet but it was HARD. Hard to live down to the last dime, hard to agree on choices, hard to be a new mom of two and keep my chin up. Frugality is permanently etched in my behavior because of this. Oh, and in that same season, my dad fought his fight with cancer. After 8 short months, cancer won. He died on my nephew’s birthday and just five days before my youngest turned two. So yep- that season pretty much sucked too.

You can imagine the realist in me now worrying, if things are so good now, what’s around the corner? What if there is another recession? Are we planning right for the kid’s college and retirement? What if we or someone close get sick?  What if my kids make a choice with terrible repercussions?

A very practical worry is that my husband’s parents are getting older. Eventually hard decisions will need to be made, potential illnesses loom and inevitably my husband will experience loss like he never has. We’ve handled a lot of hard stuff and I am so proud that we have not only stuck it out but became even stronger together for it. But I’m not sure how these losses will affect him and ultimately, us.

The crappy seasons have shaped me and I know this. Some of it makes me a little bitter and cynical. I realize that everyone has their “stuff,” but it’s easy to convince ourselves that our own is the hardest. Luckily though, these hard times have also has taught me to find the silver lining.

Things like,

  • I had an amazing mother/life-teacher for 18 years. I wouldn’t trade that for a life-time with a mediocre one.
  • I fostered my love for writing and made some great memories in college. That season had good times too.
  • Because of the course life took, I never would have met my husband if I hadn’t lost my mom.
  • I got my dad for 14 years longer than I had my mom.
  • We are financially wise(r) because of the recession.
  • We work hard at our marriage because we’ve learned what’s at stake and that it’s worth it to put in the time to keep our friendship and love strong.
  • My sweet kiddos kept us smiling and hopeful through the dark days and still do.
  • My faith in God is unwavering. Through those tough times I always trusted his plan. I may have a lot of questions for the big guy when I get up there, but I trust that he knows what he’s doing. To have gone through all of this and still feel that way is pretty much priceless to me.

I hope and pray that our next season will allow for the same growth. I hope that because of experiences up until now that I will be equipped to handle whatever it holds.

Go figure, I’m also writing about fear and (my lack of) bravery right now so sunshiny seasons still have their dark days. I’m learning that with any season, so much of how we handle it is our attitude and perspective.  For now, I’m gonna keep my face to the sunshine and soak up every drop of this blessing of a season.

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