The loveliness of the Shenandoah Valley welcomes the change of season a little more each day; days of late summer mixed in with days of early fall. Katelyn and I have been enjoying the scenery on the drive to and from the farm where she and Ethan work on a butchering crew. So we took a drive out that way the other day, to try to capture some of it on her camera. Yellows and golds are some of my favorite color tones, both inside my home and outside of it. Goldenrod may be a weed (or a wildflower?), but it’s a beautiful weed.
Joining us on our excursion were two middles and three littles. Setting out, I thought maybe they would sit back, enjoy the scenery, listen to music, and possibly take a sweet little nap. (Have I not learned anything from my 17 years of motherhood? Apparently not.)
Instead of quietness and scenery, we had crying and scenery. Bathroom emergencies. Sudden thirst that must be quenched immediately, at the exact moment of someone else’s extreme thirst. Car seats that tipped over. A sudden scream: “Mom help! Olivia’s foot is bleeding!” Only to find out it was a little speck of blood on an old little scab. While we were parked in one farm driveway, a child escaped and then managed to circle the van a few times before I could capture said child. Squabbles over seatbelts and seats. A foot that got stuck, and took two brothers to get it extracted. A radio that blared loudly three times in a row as one child tried to put some music on for the crying and upset baby. A camera lens cap that disappeared due to all the jostling inside the van. (Thankfully it was recovered.)
And this is motherhood. Enjoying the beauty of life amidst the chaos that only children, toddlers, and babies can create. Trading the picturesque for the painfully real. Trading my would-be perfect world for a world intruded upon by little people whom I have brought into the world. Trading my quiet scenic drive for a noisy scenic drive instead, and attempting to keep smiling en route. Realizing that the seasons of motherhood will change too. Remembering that these littles grow up to be pretty young ladies who take pictures, and independent young men who can’t come along for the scenic drive, because they are following other pursuits. Learning that beauty isn’t always things like mountains and gold tones. Life with children isn’t that kind of beautiful. Instead, it’s a noisy and chaotic and totally messy kind of beautiful. It’s a much more transient and fleeting beauty than that of the landscape. Ten years from now, in September, the gold tones will return. We will enjoy the gold tones every September from now to then, Lord-willing. But the children…? In ten years, I may get to have my quiet scenic drive. Better enjoy and appreciate these little ones now, including, accepting, (even embracing?…. but maybe not…) the commotion, turmoil, and disorder that comes with the territory.
The things I thought just held me back
from what I planned to be
Are the very things You use to speak to me.
Lord, the things that made You mean the world to me!
-Lauri Lou Jones & Benjamin Everson