We are giving up summer. All week, as the hills outside slowly wink color and the wind grows uppity; I have been going through the boys’ closets—putting up the shorts and t-shirts, dragging out the jeans.
Every year when this time comes around I must look long and deep at these two boys who own my heart. Could they really have grown so much in such a short span of time? The answer, of course, is yes.
I pull out a pair of jeans that are far beyond the flood stage.
Did you really wear these last year? I ask Jeffrey. He shrugs his shoulders.
The goodwill pile grows into a mountain, and it seems like I am giving away memories. This is the Pat White Jersey that’s been in his closet for two years. And this? A favorite tie-dyed shirt—the one his school picture was taken in.
He wants to keep it.
What for? I ask.
I don’t know...
When he tries it on and reaches to the ceiling his bellybutton stares at me.
It’s an arduous task and getting them to try on the questionables is something akin to asking them to volunteer for torture. It makes me grumpy and sad all at once—this upsizing. If I dig deep enough in the drawers I wonder if I will find the outfit we brought him home from the hospital in—the one that was too big with the lamb’s face on the front.
My boys are growing up. I try not to be too sentimental about these things—it makes them squeamish. But in moments like these the passing of time stares me bold in the face and brings me to my knees.
Last night the storms came. I watched lightening flash across the sky and felt the cleaning of the rain pelting the window…stripping away pieces of me, layer by layer. When I opened the door I could smell the turning of the seasons—could taste the decay of mossy leaves on the wind.
This morning, I ran in a cold rain. My nose was leaky and my shoes were wet and big trucks kept driving by and spraying me with waves of dirty street water. The sky was spreading white–no sun, no stars. Just a bleak sort of gray. Suddenly, in the headlights of a passing car, I could see the sheets of rain falling. Each individual pane of water shone like glass in the air around me and it. was so. beautiful. Time seemed to slow and my breath came in long and deep. I was aware of beds of fallen foliage deposited here and there…sometimes a lone leaf would flutter to the ground before me or get caught up in a swirl of car draft.
I made up my mind right there to love this life. I promised God to see the individual threads of falling rain sparkling like diamonds on a sunless morning. To see the beauty in changing seasons and cold gray days. To see the transforming nature of the mucking through in every day—laundry, work, traffic, love.
And I just kept going.
Time does that too. Marches on.
And it is a beautiful thing.
My boys are growing up. I’m paying attention to the details. I don’t want to miss a single droplet of life.
It’s just way too good.