Spring and summer appear as a slow, long inhale. Each week the world around grows fuller with its fecundity until, at last, it can inhale no more and the release begins with fall. It is this last moment-at the very top of the inhale when the trees are heavy with leaves, the wilds are thick with brush and all growing things put forth their last push resulting in a lush, deep green groan producing sweet roses, black eyed Susan’s, glorious mums, dripping lace vines and all manner of amazing garden produce-that seems almost magical.
The transition from summer to autumn is an embarrassment of riches. I always love driving through the late September world to see apple trees bending over to offer up their ingredients for whatever delights our palates. To see roads lined with wild flowers the color of the autumn sun makes my heart feel light. Roadside carts loaded with produce and honor system lockboxes invite you to linger over all that they have to offer. And the pumpkins. I could go on for pages about pumpkins. I find them to be a most optimistic fruit and overflowing with character!
When my children were young I could walk in the door carrying a squash, a basket of tomatoes or even some sort of cake and it would never elicit the same response as a pumpkin. Their voices would chorus ‘Pumpkins!’ and smiles would fill their faces all the way to their ears. When we could work in a trip to a ‘real live’ pumpkin patch it would, inevitably, reveal a little bit about my children’s personalities-which I always found interesting.
My youngest would search for the largest he could carry, carefully deliberating and comparing to make sure he got just the right one, but whatever it ended up being it had to be big. My oldest would look long and hard for that one forlorn left behind pumpkin that may be slightly misshapen or not quite evenly orange because she couldn’t bear the idea that it would be left in the field to rot. Our middle child would grab the first that caught his eye and then carry it around until he found the next one; he always preferred a pumpkin with attitude. As I have watched them grow into adulthood I have seen these pumpkin traits play themselves out in real time over and over again.
If it sounds like I am waxing nostalgic you would be right. We are days away from my youngest child’s wedding and I am going through all the feels, warm fuzzies and good cries that go along with this milestone. My husband doesn’t get it. It’s just another event he has to attend-no big deal and nothing to get all sentimental about. I couldn’t disagree more! This one is a biggie. It marks-in my opinion-the last big life marker as a parent. The idea of formally cutting that last apron string…well, have I mentioned I have done a lot of weeping lately?
From here on out all the firsts will be their firsts. They are embarking on the long path of creating, fulfilling and reaping the benefits of a life together. We, on the other hand, are letting go. Here come the tears again.
Picture holding three balloons. Now, picture releasing those one at a time until your hands are empty. We put a lot of effort into filling those balloons so they would gradually fill with all those good and right things that would allow them to soar when our grasp was no longer needed. I am not saying that we will have no influence in our kids’ lives-we will. But there is something about coming to the realization that the season of our youth, our increasing-ness has become like the summer-one last great, green groan followed by the release into the autumn.
We will journey down a path this week that will be filled with anticipation, laughter and (if I’m involved) tears. There will be family, friends, food, celebration and joyful release. We will bless this new coming together and mourn the loss that comes with change. It will be beautiful-in fact, glorious. This will complete the cycle begun so many years ago. As each child has found their match we marvel at the new creation begun in their lives, but one that was established on a foundation we began at their beginnings. In the blink of an eye we will witness their growing up to the fullness of all that God has in store for them and we will nod with understanding-the knowing that only comes with experience-at the marvelous story that will unfold before them.
And there will be pumpkins. Lots and lots of pumpkins.
(I will be slightly absent due to the festivities but will be back just as soon as I can be!)