Wednesday, June 27

writing {seasons}

I'll never forget Abi's first winter in Canberra. She was six before she ever beheld a frosty June morning. What was this brave, new world glittering with ice crystals?! Being the generous kid she is, she promptly ran into the back yard, scraped up a pile of frost and gingerly carried to the freezer. Her plan was to take it to school later that morning and dazzle her awestruck friends at show & tell. Lucky them!

It took her a little while to adjust to this new season. Winter in Canberra was more than a bit different to winter in Wollongong. And I'm still getting used to it... the way my garage morphs into a drinks fridge, the way the whole city shuts down for two months, and the cruel irony of the coldest weather coming after the solstice! 

Surely it would make more sense for the temperature to grow with the daylight?

But it doesn't. In a nifty twist of science, even though the sun shines longer, the temperature continues to plummet.

The solstice passes. The sunlight strengthens. But yet, the city grows colder.

And eventually, wonderfully, mercifully, it warms up again.

Lately I've been thinking about how Life has its own seasons and signposts.  Sometimes we cross a threshold and expect the season to turn.  But just as in nature, time must pass. The season must complete its work.  We don't turn 30 (or even 15) and immediately feel mature. We don't birth babies (or businesses) and immediately feel fulfilled. We don't always feel connected after throwing parties and showers; and we don't always feel content with the accumulation of appliances and artwork.


I think the most difficult season we've weathered started when Abi began crawling (December 2002) and finished when Sol turned two, just before Abel was conceived (July 2006).  What made it tricky was that Abi was an incredibly easy baby.  When Abi was about 9 or 10 months old we breezed past the signposts that declared "family = arrived" and "parenting = nailed". But we were blindsided by how cold it was about to get. We had yet to pass through the season of tantrums, sleeplessness, sibling rivalry, brokeness-verging-on-poverty, and randomly vomiting toddlers. It was difficult not because of the physical work involved, but because we just couldn't see an end in sight!


And then something shifted. Just like blossoms bursting in springtime, we knew we'd entered a new phase when we'd wake up strangely refreshed in the mornings, when our belongings mysteriously stayed put, and when we couldn't remember the last time we had shovelled food into a mouth that wasn't our own.  And we exhaled.  We drank in the newness of a life without a stroller. We marvelled at what would come next.  The world was ours for the taking.


So we fell pregnant with Abel.  Rinse. Repeat.

And what's the point of all this?  Well I've learned that the beauty of seasons - especially in Canberra - is that they pass. None of them are perfect, but each of them are exquisite. They all uniquely do their work on us, drawing us to different places, events, mindsets, and experiences.


Some seasons in life are tough.  As for Bren and I, we're in a balmy summer with kids who are big enough to do cool stuff but small enough to crumple onto our laps.  The stage that each kid is at, the position Bren has achieved in his career, and the satisfaction I feel with my life are all refreshing breezes that swirl around us and nudge us from one day into the next.


I'm not naive enough to think it'll last.  So I'm enjoying it.  And when our next winter comes, and it will come, we'll just hang on. We'll hang on to each other, to our history, to the vows we made to each other.  Best of all, we'll smile and wink at the solstice, and try with all our might to be enchanted by the ice crystals in our back yard.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:54 AM

    Beautifully written Karen. What a great idea to have a family blog. Looks like you are doing a fab job as mum too! Dfordezi.

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    1. Thank you! Our family blog is turning out to be heaps of fun. So lovely of you to let us know your thoughts :)
      Karen

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  2. See I always feel that the worst bit of the Canberra winter is before the solstice, in May and June. It may be cold afterwards, but it's usually sunny and the end is in sight. But I've lived through a few more than you coastal refugees :P

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    1. Haha! This is my second stint in Canberra. I don't think I'll ever get over that mad dash into the shower on a winter's morning :P

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    2. I keep a warm fluffy bathrobe beside my bed in the colder months for that exact purpose. Brrrrr....

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  3. What a wonderful sentiment in this post! We are in the tail end of the "winter" of sleeplessness with our almost 3 year old and 17 month old. I would desperately love a third child but you have articulated my fear - I am scared of the next winter! However you are right that winter will always come round again in some form!

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    1. Oh I totally understand that dilemma! If it makes you feel any better, most people I know with three kids find that last one is just delightful. You're nicely occupied with getting the eldest off to school so the youngest just ends up coming along everywhere for the ride. I was also much more confident with #3 because I knew not to sweat the whole sleeping/feeding/teething stuff. Anyway, have fun with whatever comes next!!!

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  4. wotisunique1:58 PM

    Love what you're doing here Karen, and really enjoyed your writing this morning. I hope you don't feel like I'm stalking you (On a side issue, my children now want to start a family blog. I don't know whether to thank you or run screaming).

    The thought that "this, too, shall pass" is what got me through the hardest parts of mothering with young children So powerful - enjoy the good things to their limits as it won't last forever. And know that the bad times don't last either. How can that not bring a degree of peace?

    D

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    1. Haha, a stalker! I've finally arrived! ;-)

      Hey that's pretty cool about the kids wanting to start a blog. Let me know if you get one going!

      As for 'this, too, shall pass', there would be many days that I'd play U2's "Stuck in a Moment" on repeat! It's such a great sentiment.

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  5. Anonymous5:44 PM

    I too have seen many seasons come and go. I have inhaled the sweet smell of Summer and quivered with trepidation of yet another Winter. No, the bad times don't last for ever and the balmy good days are getting longer. I have found my peaceful place after weathering many seasons. I am surrounded by love and secure in the knowledge that what will be will be. I also have the precious gift of seeing the next layer of our family grow with each passing season. This gift is priceless and treasured. The degree of peace I embrace is immeasurable.

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    1. It sounds like you're reaping what you sowed. It's wonderful to hear.

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