I thought a lot about what to say in this post, when there were so many things to say, and even contemplated leaving the picture to speak for itself. But no, that seemed just a bit too sad. I am sad, of course, but I’m also reminded of the fantastic children’s book, Frederick, by Leo Lionni. Frederick the mouse spends much of the book looking lazy, soaking up the sun and colors and sounds of the summer while his mouse friends prepare, wisely enough, for the winter. But once the food has run out, once the winter has reached its breaking point, the mice turn to Frederick. “What about your supplies?” they ask. And Frederick obliges, bringing forth memories of warmth and brightness so vivid that the mice can see and feel them, even in the dark of their cave.
Frederick saves the best of last, a beautiful poem about the four field mice who bring on the four seasons: “One is the Springmouse who turns on the showers. / Then comes the Summer who paints in the flowers. / The Fallmouse is next with walnuts and wheat. / And Winter is last… with little cold feet. / Aren’t we lucky the seasons are four? / Think of a year with one less… or one more!”
Life is all about seasons. Soaking up each of these seasons gives me memories to take with me to brighten the future, which of course would be nothing without the last or next seasons to contrast with. Right now I’m growing tired of the summer heat as my garden withers away. I’m filled to the brim with fresh produce and tanned skin, ice cream and swimming and grilling outside. I can’t say I’m tired of having M around because I’m not. It was with a irrepressible lump in my throat that I hugged him goodbye this morning. But I can say that I’m ready for fall, for soups and pumpkins and a new house to decorate. For holidays to take on a whole new joy. For new routines and new learning. For all of us to learn to walk on our own just that little bit more: M in kindergarten, K with just me or in preschool, me in the quiet moments between. It’s a process of independence, and boy, am I glad the process is slow! I feel not just lucky, as Frederick says, but blessed. Blessed to have great memories, and the ability to take them with me. Blessed to have today, and people to share it with. Blessed with many seasons, and reasons to love them all. And blessed to know God, to know that even when we are all on our own, however or whenever it may be, I am not really alone, ever. It’s a comfort I hope I can show my children, season after season, that even my sad tears are mingled with joy.