Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
Lots of people have been writing about the rotation of the seasons and what it means to them – the exchanging of sandals for sweaters; beach bags for backpacks; feverish heat for falling leaves.
If, in my past, I have looked at the burgeoning autumn that way, the same certainly cannot be said of summer’s end this year. Perhaps the only thing I share with the mood of the season’s change of previous years is the sweet melancholy that seems to accompany it.
This year – this unique, special year, I am seeing things differently. The transitions in my life – in my body, in my world – are no more significant than the wonder of nature readying herself for a long hibernation, but in my life – in my world, in my body – they have never been greater.
And, as in nature, the transitions have begun slowly - not imperceptible, but certainly nothing to disrupt the usual flow of our lives. Like the leaves, working hard to siphon the last of the chlorophyll-rich sunshine out of the sky and into their veins, we have certainly been grasping at summer’s last offerings of warm days and welcomed breezes, spending as much time as possible outdoors, with friends and family. Our barbeque and patio furniture are being egged on to the finish line. Their showing will be impressive.
But the transitions are growing more noticeable. Growing in importance, they are undeniably marking steps in a march, gentle but persistent, that leads to an inevitable conclusion. Conclusions.
The most obvious, analogous example is of course, my growing belly. My growing baby. But we’re not quite there yet.
First we must get used to life without Bee’s nanny, who, due to circumstances with the family we shared her with, spent her last day with us on Friday. This means getting used to Chris caring for Bee during the day and tagging out when I come home from work so that he can go and work the evening shift at his company. We’re lucky that this was an option for us, and Bee and her father will enjoy the special time they spend together, the most since she was born.
But I’m going to miss Bee’s nanny, and so will she. And I’m going to miss my husband, who I will high-5 as I enter the house that he is exiting. I will miss us being a family of three, together for dinner and bedtime and books and snuggles, while the time for us to be a family of three runs down. I know we can do it; I know we’ll be ok doing it, even if it means that I can’t tag off bedtimes when my feet are swelling or my patience is thinning; even if it means that Chris will be blurry-eyed at 7 am and delirious at midnight. It’s not for long.
It’s for eight weeks. Eight weeks, and then I begin my maternity leave. Eight weeks and then the big transition – bigger than Halloween or a November blizzard or hearing the first cozy crackle of burning logs in the fireplace.
Eight weeks and then we simply wait for the arrival of a new person in our lives. A new person that will emerge from my body into our lives. A new person that will bring more change, more joy, more love, more hope than I will ever think it is possible for a new person to bring. I don’t know who this new person will be, and yet she already means so much to me.
This baby, growing inside of me. Growing stronger. Getting ready to take her first breath.
And another transition. Inevitable, unavoidable, its time of metamorphosis unknown, but growing closer with every day.
I cannot fool myself into not thinking about the universal irony, the cosmic balance that will result in the birth of my daughter and the death of my father.
As my baby grows stronger, my father becomes weaker. As she moves towards taking her first breath, my father moves towards his last. It’s a cliché, it sounds impersonal, it’s dramatic, but it’s true. I know that as I adjust to life with a new baby, I will, at some time surrounding that miraculous transition, also be adjusting to life without my father.
My hope, of course, is that I am able to tell my father about the birth of his third granddaughter. That he is able to at least see a picture of her, hear her precious mewls over the phone.
But like the advancing autumn, the days are unpredictable. As the leaves grow pale and the temperature drops, as the evening’s robes descend ever longer, I will simply hold on to the last of the sun’s warm rays, and hope that they will shine on us again tomorrow.