I've been digging in my heels this August as school's pushed closer. My resistance has really been about Eden's leaving for kindergarten (which, unhelpfully, is coinciding with weaning Maeve). It feels like a loss all around: the loss of two hours alone with her before Silas comes home, the loss of 50% of her day being imagination and play, the loss of a 15 minute drive together to and from school. It's the loss of "pre" -- pre-school, pre-homework, pre-buying lunch food I've never seen in a far away lunchroom, pre-big kids all around. It's the loss of sibling-summer-magic. There's some good wholeness that happens when kids are thrown together day after day. Even when they shake and tumble through it, they're together rather than on opposite sides of a wall. Silas and Eden, who've always liked each other, have changed this summer to be more affectionate, sillier, fond of each other: they're good friends. Starting a week from tomorrow, for almost 7 hours of the day, they'll be on different sides of a wall.
I know this is rhythm.
I know millions of kids are starting school this month.
I know all of this is normal.
But I don't care.
Right now, after leaving Peter's apartment, change does not feel good. I do not like time's insistence. Constant movement feels unnatural, and some of it is.
But here we are, on a planet with time and seasons.
Here we are, in motion.
There is no protest (that's useful).
There is no standing still.
There is only the choice of how we'll move.
Walking today, I noticed that the trees are already starting to change and drop little hints of what's to come, as if they're saying let's all hold hands and jump together because we're ready, and we're going.
They are ready, putting on their reds without resistance.
As I picked up their little leaves, I felt for the first time this summer, that fall might be possible, that I might be able to bear Silas and Eden's going (will I write this same thing in fifteen years when they head back to college??), that they might be able to separate and stay connected, that going back to school might be ok, that it could possibly even be good.
People have planted mums already. Soon the maples will tip toward fire with shocking beauty, and the ground will be littered with little promises that movement is the way of life, the way to new life.
Regardless of my wanting to close my eyes or spin the earth backwards like Superman did, the air will start smelling colder, the trees will pelt the ground with acorns, Eden will fight me hard when she doesn't have her way, Maeve will begin to walk, and the trees will blacken and stand bare.
I kept an orange heart-shaped leaf from my walk and am carrying it with me as I think about Peter and about change, about how God sticks close to us and leads us through this wild windy land, about how hard we can grip His hand, about how even when we do a shitty job along the way -- flail and scream and hate the road -- he doesn't stand any farther from us because his nearness isn't dependent on how we do; it's dependent on how He loves. (I will remind myself of that again and again).
So here, where the leaves are mostly green and the air still thick with summer, I will resolve to grip and put on my reds, too.