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Embrace What We Have—a New Season

by Janet Leonard

In July, I attended a very interesting science workshop offered to elementary teachers within our school district. In this one-day meeting, our group studied various behaviors and particularly the life cycles of some fascinating creatures—mealworms, butterflies, and crickets. The high-interest theme with nature held my attention as I began to think how intricately-designed changes over time really are. It has amazed me to observe the changes that have occurred in a couple of mealworms that I brought home from the workshop. It’s hard to believe that the two lightly-colored, soft-bellied mealworms will become dark brown beetles with hard-shelled exoskeletons! One thing about nature, lessons for change are right before our eyes.

It’s quite captivating to observe a flower’s life cycle, too. I’ve been grabbing my camera lately to catch those miracle moments—the-bud-to-bloom process— on film. How intriguing to view the changes from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. There is a particular bold pink dahlia plant in a terra cotta pot near my front porch steps that I’ve been studying. The visual display is amazing: first, there’s a shiny, sphere-shaped bud, gorgeously designed in tight form. Then, there is an intense swelling of the bud. One pink petal unfolds. Then two petals are there, side by side. Then, I see three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. The full blossom appears—Voila’! Truly amazing! The plate-sized hibiscus planted in our backyard near the hammock has been another captivating beauty in nature to watch as well. And, of course, the light pink and bold yellow roses at our front porch corner are delightful to watch more cycles of change. Like I said, one thing about nature, just walk outside, there will be something to see which demonstrates change.

There is one special life cycle that definitely catches my attention these days; it’s one that I’ve been watching very closely for years and years—and years. It’s the life of our second daughter, Kelly, who is about to stretch her wings to leave our home. Yes, there are many mixed feelings and emotions about going through this part of our family’s changing life cycle. As a close family, we are all learning to make adjustments with the redefining of time and space in this new season. It’s an exciting transition—more thrilling than changing hard-shelled beetles or unfolding flowers.

As preparation letters arrive every other day from that upstate university, we are well aware that we’re in the process of change. We see the new luggage. We hear about the new roommate. We make purchases for her dorm. We write down a new email and snail mail address—all with our daughter’s name attached. It’s natural, right? Yes, it is. It’s called change, and adults can handle this, right? Right. It’s not easy, but we move on as courageously as we can through these seasons.

Our firstborn has successfully completed two years at this university already. My husband and I are thrilled that our two girls will be at the same college campus. There is comfort in that! We just smile at the financial aspects of this situation. There is challenge in that! I keep thinking: wouldn’t it be nice if nature could assist parents in one area? I’d love to look outside to see just one money tree in the back or front yard to help with these college expenses. No, that’s not natural. We are very thankful for scholarships! Yes, yes, yes!

In a few weeks, our family (all five of us) will travel those highways to the upstate university where our two daughters will attend college and where our funds will flow. As I recall the trip from two years ago, there were beautiful orange and yellow wildflowers planted on the edges of the interstate. I immediately thought—how nice to see bouquets around the bends as the road would weave. It felt like those flowers were being presented to us, the families facing change. I look forward to seeing those wildflower bouquets once more. Thank you, DOT, for that small gift.

It won’t be long before we experience another changing season—when our daughters will come home. They’ll knock on our front door, and we’ll hear their familiar voices, “Mom and Dad, we’re home!” Talk about exciting times, redefined times of a new season when we’re all together again. Now that will be an exceptional season—a very special time—to embrace.

Selection 23 of

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Copyright © 2007 by Janet Leonard. All rights reserved.