This winter has been long. If you live in the Midwest, I imagine you have felt it to. Here in Wisconsin, we have had record snowfall and it just keeps coming. I am not one for complaining but this year...it's dragging. The snow is up to our windows and has already covered most of the patio furniture on the deck, the winter firewood is so low that wearing an extra layer seems more appealing than buying more and the snow shovels? They are somewhere out there...under all that snow.
We have always used winter as a time to regroup. We slow down. Strengthen our connections with one another, play more family games, read more. We plan our fairs for the year, our vacations, dream a little more and breathe a bit easier. It comes quick, this thing called winter. And we all become a bit more introspective every season that the light goes away for just a little bit longer.
And while the seasons keep rotating and winter keeps coming, we have had some major changes going on in our little lives. Our 15 year old, who has been homeschooled her whole life decided to go to public school in January. (see the story here) She loves it and is still, the only kid not happy when there is a snow day (and there have been a lot). My son, in just a few short days, will be turning 18...and yeah...it has gone by quick. It all does, right? And although I have a ten year old...that will go by quick, too. Despite me wanting to go outside, look up to the sky, and ask this to all slow down...just a little. it doesn't. You know this. You have done it...and I imagine have had the same results as me.
My parents, in their 70's and 80's will soon be moving into an adult community. Downsizing from a home they love to a smaller, more simpler lifestyle. My step dad is slowing down. My dad is recovering from knee surgery. My mom is more beautiful than ever, but time is catching up to everyone around us.
And me...I will be 49 this year. And although I have a tendency not to get caught up in the numbers...
I will be 49 this year...damn.
I have spent a lot of time getting to know me and creating a person that most of the time, I am pretty happy about. At 49, I am still breaking patterns, unlearning things I no longer need and opening myself up to the best kind of love around...my own. I am getting really honest about what I want in my life and what I don't and realizing that this too, will go by quick.
And I am opening myself up to be loved, which feels good. It feels good to trust, to carry a sense of knowing, to create a light where, in the past, wasn't so bright. It feels good to replace what I thought love should look like with what I want it to look like and to know, without a doubt, that someone else has my back. I am leaning into the comfort and safety of all of it, which is challenging, but so important to me.
And with all of these changes going on, it is sometimes hard to catch my breath, but that is what we are here for, right? To be witness to all that goes on around us, to create a life that is as beautiful as we can imagine and to love the people around us as fiercely as possible. It would be easy to get stuck in the quickness this life gives us..the few minutes we get to live and create before it is gone. I could stay in the fear that all of this will eventually go away. That any day now, the rug will be pulled out from underneath me. I could do that. I imagine you could, too.
But I find myself these days, feeling more gratitude than fear. Gratitude that my 15 year old is making choices for herself and loving it. That my soon to be 18 year old is going at his own pace with such curiosity that he shines in everything he does, That my parents are choosing to create a life that is more in line with where they want to go. And that I am loving someone in a way I might not have done before and might not ever do again...for all of this, I am so grateful.
And while there is no slowing down of time...there is the possibility of taking each moment and appreciating that. There is the possibility of not putting anything off that brings us incredible amounts of joy. There is the possibility of stepping into love, instead of fear, with everything we do. There is that possibility.
And right now, that is where I am going to stay.