It’s fall in Texas. And while it may still be hot and green outside, we’re all aware that in other parts of the U.S. trees are beginning to change color, leaves are beginning to fall, and even if we can’t feel it just yet; the cooler weather is lurking right around the corner.
Lately my eldest son and I have been reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Each time we read it I can’t help but see the tree as myself, a mother who will give all she has to her son. And as I think about fall and the seasons changing, I look up at the tall trees in our front yard and see myself, the mother tree, clinging to her leaves and acorns (her babies). For soon she will be forced to let go of those tiny sprouts as she enters a new season of her life.
Some acorns will plant themselves in the ground finding their own footing and sprouting up as trees of their own – independent and ready to begin preparations for leaves of their own. These are our teenagers, ready to take on the world, entering a new season of adulthood. Other smaller leaves will fall and fade away, only to be replaced by new, larger, stronger leaves that will flourish in their new season. These are our babies, shedding their infancy and being replaced by rambunctious and vibrant toddlers and children.
I have the unique blessing that my second son (my newborn) bears a striking resemblance and similarity to my preschooler (my first born). Looking at my newborn is like looking back in time. I’m able to see my baby (a glimpse of my first born) once more, and it’s awesome and heartbreaking simultaneously. I stare at my newborn sleeping contently and soak in this precious time. Then I look up and see his brother – three years older – playing on the floor. Suddenly I have time traveled, and I can see my newborn’s future laid out right in front of me. It’s a tearful reminder that just like the fall, this season of babyhood is short and fleeting.
Like the seasons, my children are ever-changing. Each season has its sweet moments – the warmth of summer, that sweet new baby smell. And each season has its hurdles – those sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, the relentless temperatures (I’m looking at you Texas summers and Midwest winters!) But no matter how we feel in each season, we’re all met with the same reality – that eventually the hot and cold will subside, a change will spark a shift, and like clockwork we will be forced to enter into a new season whether we are ready for it or not.
Several weeks ago I walked into my preschooler’s bedroom; clothes were tossed about on the bedroom floor, dresser drawers were left open, and a step stool from the bathroom was misplaced. Normally one might frown upon such a mess, but this particular mess was upsetting for an entirely different reason. It was the first time my son had gotten dressed completely independently. As I walked out of the room I realized those clothes strewn about on the floor were my fallen leaves.
My first born is growing up and becoming more independent. So often we can get caught up in the day-to-day that we don’t even see the changes happening; but this time I noticed. Those clothes on the floor marked the changing of his season. Just like that, he is turning into more of a young boy and less of a toddler. This new season will be one where he will thrive, learning new things every day. And yet, it saddens me to know this season will also mean he will need me a little less each day. Just like The Giving Tree I have given him this gift of independence, which means slowly over each season, we will be spending less time together as he blossoms and grows into a young man.
So for now, like the Texas trees, I’m going to cling to my leaves (my babies) for as long as I can. Because I know, as soon as I let them go, this season will be over. And while the new season will bring with it just as much excitement and joy; I’ll still shed some tears – just as the trees shed their leaves – as I turn over a new leaf and enter into a new season. Because I’m faced with the reality that my little leaves will never be the same again. And next year I’ll see them grow anew once more, each time a little more different than before, and forever changed.
About the Author
Kristin Merron is a boy-mom of two, William (3) and Benjamin (newborn), who resides in Carrollton, TX with her husband Matt. Originally from Chicago, IL she moved to Dallas, TX in 2011. She has a professional background in Communications and has worked as a full-time mom, a part-time mom, a work-from-home mom, and is now navigating life as a stay-at-home mom. She joined CECPTA in November 2019 and is part of the PURPLE and RED playgroups. When not quarantining from a global pandemic she enjoys travel, exploring new places in and around DFW with her kids, having date-night with her husband at the movies, playing board games with friends, and seeking out the best burger and queso at any number of area restaurants.