Today I saw a tree that was pushed over and partially uprooted. And yet it continued to bloom. The trees around it had yet to understand that spring was upon us, but this tree, it pressed on, determined despite its obstacles. Where the others were still firmly rooted to earth and life, this tree was hanging on by very little, desperate to live, but not just live — committed to blooming.
This tree spoke to me, as nature often does. It reminded me with its one tiny little section of new growth of how many times life knocks us down, and how those who will have the courage to do so can stand up and grow again. It reminded me of ME, not just people. And not just getting knocked down, but rather navigating new seasons.
I’m in a new season of this great big beautiful life. One where the newborn to 18 stage ends and the next season of a child’s life begins. With two sons already grown — one married and one a new father — I am staring down the last few months with the last child. She is 18 and finishes out her senior year of high school in less than a week. Then she too will go off into her life, and the nest will sit empty, and here I will be, wringing my mama bird hands, crying out to all the new mothers, “Don’t blink! Don’t blink!” and they won’t listen, and they too will blink, and then…they will get it.
I think about the uprooted tree, the new season of its life where it must bloom again. Last year, it was firmly rooted in what it knew, what it was. It grew as it always did, but now the journey has changed. Through no decision of its own, life changed, and so it adapted and it bloomed anyway. I did not choose to already be here at the end of this stage of parenting where I have to ask myself “Now what?” but it came anyway. Oh sure, the choice was to be the mother and the goal is to raise the children, and while I’ve juggled things I like and want alongside parenting, it’s never fully been about me.
And now it is.
I stand uprooted from this place I’ve always known, and I feel the longing and hoping for what can be no more. What I know is that I must grow, I must bloom again. My choices are to live in yesterday or to move forward, pushing from the earth once again to stand up and move forward. So much in me screams to hold on just a little bit longer, just a wee bit tighter, but if I raised my children to fly, so I too must grow.
How do you know when it’s time to let go and march forward into a new season? Sometimes the decisions are made for you, and sometimes you have to decide. Either way, the season will change. Will you change with it?