What Falling Leaves are Teaching Me

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My husband and I took a day off to hike in the mountains the other day. The air was crisp and cool. The bright golden leaves of the aspen trees had mostly fallen, creating a gorgeous carpet for our hike. The white trunks of the aspens and the towering pine trees were beautiful against the bright blue sky. It was picture perfect.

The changing of the seasons is something that speaks to me deeply, reminding me to embrace the seasons of motherhood.

Fall, full of pumpkin spice everything, costumes, colorful leaves and sweater weather, reminds me to embrace change. It reminds me to look forward to the season of parenting where some things will need to drop off, activities that once were important are now, like dying leaves, making room for new growth and activity. It reminds me to put on a costume, be silly with my kids, get out of my comfort zone and see life through their eyes.

It whispers to me, some things are worth looking forward to but may only be around for a season, like the eagerly awaited PSL at Starbucks. Get it while you can. Hold their hand and sneak those kisses on their forehead while you can, mama.

Winter, while it may be barren, cold, and look lifeless, shows me that it’s okay, maybe even necessary, to slow down, or have a season that may look like not much is going on, while the true growth is happening down under. Moms need down time. Kids need down time. Some of us need permission to do nothing. Just snuggle under a blanket. Take a nap. Let your teenager sleep in. Again. Read a book. Try something new that you may not be very good at but you’ve always wanted to do. Internal, personal growth takes time and often doesn’t look like much until the new growth starts peeking out from the snow. . .

Spring, bursting with new growth, sometimes covered up again with a late snowfall, inspires me to pay attention to even the smallest signs of growth in my kids. Take a few quiet minutes, write in a journal, or talk about it with them. What growth have you noticed in each child? What growth would you like to see in your child? It makes me ask myself questions like:

Am I parenting with purpose? Pruning the wild growth where it needs it? Adding fertilizer where it needs it? Watering, putting the little plant in fertile soil? Am I catching my kids doing something good and reinforcing it?

Summer, hot, busy yet relaxing at the same time, beckoning a trip to a far away place, reminds me that a change of pace and scenery is good for the soul and for the mama. Do I need to pull out of some regular commitments? Take a break? Take a weekend away with my husband to be reminded of my first love? Do I need to take my kids to the beach? Send them to the summer camp I went to as a child? Jump in some puddles? Run through the sprinkler? Swim with my kids–and get my hair wet? Summer is that perfect combination of fun and boredom that we need to be creative, enjoy a getaway with those we love, and be a child again.

Embrace the season of your motherhood, mama. Play in the leaves, watch the snow fall, notice the new growth and get your hair wet.

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