Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Change of Seasons

Fall is here, subtle and transient, dropping temperatures on a whim for one or two days before vanishing altogether for weeks on end, and the afternoon sun climbs high and makes everyone sweat and wish we lived somewhere cooler. But I see the beauty in our prolonged summer, the strange bursts of color from shrubs and bushes that are blooming again in the same season, since the weather has allowed it.

Last week I took my little boys to Town Lake to show them evidence of the changing seasons. The foliage along the water's edge seems to change with greater intensity and vibrancy than what we see further inland. William collected handfuls of yellow leaves and fallen acorns, proof of fall's arrival.

I have always loved fall, but as a child I met the season with a bit of disappointment and longing. Our Texas autumn didn't look right to me; it wasn't like the fall I saw in story books, where trees looked as though they'd been set ablaze with color and frosty mornings led to Christmases draped in snow and icicles. I would stand underneath our old oak trees, close my eyes, and pray for snow that never came.

Now, as a grown woman, a mother who understands why it can't snow in November in Austin, I meet the changing season with anticipation and, still, longing. October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. It is also the month that we lost Jordan, and this November would have been Violet's first birthday. Last year marked a season of loss for my household, but as we settle into our new routine with our infant boy and our two year old, I sense the end of that season. The days are not marked with sadness or tears anymore, but with the bustle of a young family with two tiny ones. This season of our lives doesn't look like something I would have seen in a storybook, but it's beautiful in its own way.

Memorial to Unborn Children, image found here
In the quiet early hours before the sun rises, as I slip quietly from our bed to nourish my crying 10 week old Joshua, I feel the cool wood floors and breathe the smell of a fall morning coming in from the open windows. I sense the subtle shift; it is fall in Texas. I cradle Joshua, my own harbinger of a new season, in my arms, and I know that happiness is here once again. I rock him and nurse him, grateful for the few minutes of quiet, and I think of the best way to express this, but I can never settle on the perfect words. Instead, I will just say it the best way I know how: I feel true happiness and I feel true peace, and I believe with all of my heart that God does what is best for me. But my heart cries out, on peaceful quiet mornings, for Violet and Jordan. I think it's safe to say that I will always long, in some way, to hold them and to hear their baby coos and cries, to know what they would have looked like as toddlers and teenagers, to know if they would have had blue eyes like both of my other boys, like their father. I just wanted to share this to honor those other women (and men) who know this type of hurt and longing. There is beauty in every season.

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