My mind turned a somersault when three different friends talked about their grandchildren. One is in her 70s and has four grands 14 and under, another is 80 and has two pre-schoolers, and another in her early 70s with boy grands still at home. Blows my mind when I think of our six young adult grands, knowing that neither Byron and I , nor our own children, started families early. We were all out of college and fairly settled. And so it brings me to the seasons of life, a journey that differs for all of us for many reasons. But the seasons don’t vary : spring, summer, fall, and winter.
But of interest, also, are those of us who are in one season, but mentally and emotionally, live in another———often the past, but sometimes the future.
The sad ones are the ones who can’t let go, who re-live the moments of glory that have come and gone. It’s emotionally unhealthy, unrealistic, and presents as a loss. Today is what is; yesterday is gone, no matter how hard we try to bring it back.
I see this with athletes who, in their prime, excited their fans and followers, exuded talent and perseverance, and relished the opportunity to excel. Nothing wrong with that. In their prime. What is tragic is the inability of some to move forward, to appreciate the memories, but enjoy the season of the present. Leaving spring and summer behind may be hard, but it is what life is all about.
Others who sometimes stay stuck in one season of life are contest winners, public figures, politicians, homecoming queens , cheerleaders, and others who were accomplished in a particular arena and can’t seem to let go. Summer is not forever, nor should it be.
My spring is clearly defined, even expressed anecdotally in my book, IT WAS WHAT IT WAS. Growing up in small-town South in the 40s and 50s was the best, the very best. Living was easy, patriotism was at a peak following WWII, money was flowing, churches were filled, schools were localized, neighbors were actually neighborly, entertainment was front-porch visiting, and everybody knew everybody. It was a time of peace, love, and togetherness. I was blessed.
My summer was young married life, shared with my high school sweetheart. College behind for me, ahead for him. Buying our first house in Winder, teaching senior English at Winder-Barrow High School, giving birth to our first child( a baby boy) , moving to Danville, Ky., blessed with our new-born daughter ( our Kentucky babe ), back to Winder, on to Birmingham ( Mountain Brook ) and facing all the unknowns and obstacles that relationships can bring. It was a time of adjustment, resiliency, and direction-changing. I was blessed.
My fall was coming home to Lavonia with a husband and two children. Quite different from when I left ! And Lavonia was different , too, in many ways, some good and some not so good. It was growing and feeling the growing pains. Businesses were coming and going. Textiles no longer ruled. Saturdays downtown were no longer filled. Staples such as locally owned small department stores were gone. I-85 introduced a strip on Hwy. 17 and Lake Hartwell brought strangers into our midst. I was appointed to the Franklin County School Board as the first woman and later became the first ( and only to date ) female principal at Franklin County High School. Our children found their wings and left their roots behind. It was a time of challenge, nostalgia, and excitement. I was blessed.
And now it’s winter, and I am at peace. I have my Byron, my four children ( two by other mothers ), my six grands plus four , my home in the woods, my Gracie, my three or four very dear and much loved friends ( you know who you are ), my bridge friends, my church, and my memories. It has been a long and sometimes disappointing journey, but the joys and celebrations far outweigh the negatives. And I have no regrets. It is a time of contentment, reflection, and happiness. I am blessed.
Life is about the journey and not the destination. It begins and ends, and nothing can change that. Each season brings its own light and darkness. If you’re lucky, the good will always trump the bad. And you can say, if you’re lucky , in the spring, summer, fall, and winter of your life, ” I am blessed “.