Years ago I met a kindred spirit who shared a love of junking, creating and surprise gifting. When she invited me for a weekly coffee date I was thrilled. I didn’t drink coffee, but I was so grateful for her invitation and friendship I doused my coffee with milk, dumped in half her sugar bowl and learned to love caffeine in another form. I also learned the importance of recognizing the seasons of my life. I was aware of stages and moments, but I had never really thought about my seasons. We can’t be all things at all times, and the seasons are our reminder. She had a saying I was quick to incorporate into my military mantra; “It’s not my season” was a keeper.
Seasons change, and people change too. Change is a key component of military life, but I was missing crucial opportunities to readjust or reevaluate what my focus and priorities should be. Sometimes reality sneaks up and gently taps you on the shoulder, and sometimes it bursts through the front door and bites you in the butt. Reality demands your attention, and instantaneously you realize change is necessary.
Spaghettios signaled a change in seasons for me. My husband was deployed, and I was frantically working on meals for a few families who needed a night off from the kitchen. My youngest wandered in and asked the simple question, “What’s for dinner, Mommy?” I stopped in my tracks and dropped my head. The dinner I was prepping was promised to another family, and I had nothing for my own kids. I was the cobbler whose children had no shoes. I lifted my head and said, “Spaghettios”. A huge smile spread across my daughter’s face, and she rushed off to tell her sister. They were delighted and I was defeated; I was cooking homemade dinners for others, but pouring theirs out of a can. I didn’t earn my “Okayest Mom” coffee mug for nothing. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions I have been on the asphalt crew for most of my 17 years as an Army spouse. I have weathered many seasons but did not always grasp the power of understanding or appreciating where I stood. I had been a neighborhood caretaker in the past, but my season changed.
Depending on the season your family, Army family, career, health or education will demand more. Heed your season. It’s okay to hang up a hat or two. A wise woman once told me, “You can have it all, Kristen. You just can’t have it all at once.” I was a young mother, and I needed to hear those words. She validated where I was, was temporary, and like the seasons would change quickly. I could survive diapers, ear infections, potty training and Caillou.
There are seasons we love and others we wish away, but there is always a reason for each we encounter. No season is forever, and the leaves aren’t the only thing that can change.
“All seasons have something to offer.” – Jeannette Walls