Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
-Robert Frost

I love this poem, and I always think about it this time of year.  It’s haunting and wistful and dreamy.  Some people say that Texas doesn’t have four seasons.  I think autumn here is just so fleeting that it’s easy to miss.  The temperatures do start to dip and the leaves do change to glorious shades of orange, red and gold.IMG_0329 copy  Everyone seems to walk with more vigor.  We’ve survived the long, hot summer, and the promise of the holiday season is in the air.  We start to cook with more cinnamon and nutmeg and smile at every pumpkin we pass.  It just lasts a few weeks and then fades discreetly into Christmastime.

This autumn’s had a different meaning to me as a new mom.  I love so much about being a parent thus far, but I have to say that one of my favorite aspects of this journey we’ve just begun is watching our son discover the world.  You always hear that they grow and change so rapidly, and that has certainly been confirmed by our experience.  When we left the hospital with our newborn the day before Easter, I tried to fathom the idea that this was Benjamin’s first time outside…ever.  He was breathing fresh air, seeing the sky (sort of), hearing birds and cows.  The wonder I see in his eyes, the complete trust…it just blows my mind.  In the span of two weeks he learned to sit up, started forming and repeating new sounds and tried solid food for the first time.  He rolls across the room in seconds, and each time we go somewhere new his eyes get big and his head darts around, scanning his surroundings.  He’s learning how to wave and chuckles when people engage with him.  He grabs absolutely everything he can reach.  He’s soaking in this great big world.  IMG_0404 copyThis time as the cooler temperatures hit and the leaves started to change, I thought about 2015 coming to an end.  2015, the year of Benjamin’s birth; it’s almost over.  Last year at this time, I was feeling him kick against my hand on my belly and dreaming of seeing him in footsie pajamas.  

Lately that Amy Grant song has been playing in my head, “Oh how the years go by…”  It’s romantic to mourn the loss of something while you still have it because you love it so much that you dread letting go.  But that’s not how I want to live when it comes to being a mom.  My little heart can’t take it.  I’m practicing gratitude to combat this feeling of loss.  It’s my motherhood mantra of sorts.  Instead of ugly crying when my son grew out of his newborn clothes, I tried to remember that some babies are sick and don’t grow.  I made myself focus on my gratitude for a healthy, growing boy.  This really helps me cope.  Please don’t hear me saying that any sadness over our babies growing up is bad.  Not at all.  A therapist once came to speak to one of my social work classes, and she said something that stuck with me.  How you feel is never wrong.  It’s good and healthy sometimes to let the sadness wash over us for a little while. But it would be easy for me to err on the side of being too brokenhearted.  When I look back on my life, I don’t want to feel as though I wasted my babies’ childhoods feeling sad that they couldn’t stay small longer.  We only get one shot at raising them.

This practice of changing my perspective and focusing on gratitude as my little boy grows from infant to baby to toddler and beyond…well, it’s helping my heart to stay peaceful.  It feels holy.  I’m able to do a better job of enjoying the positive things about the phase we’re in.  I know I have a lot of difficult and wonderful parenting experiences ahead, and I have SO much to learn.  So, right now I’ll enjoy the otherworldly beauty of his little face when he falls asleep in my arms.  And later I’ll be thankful for his ability to use words to tell me what’s bothering him so that we can work on a solution.  Someday, Lord willing, I’ll look up to my son, and I’ll take joy in that.  Autumn doesn’t last long and babies grow up fast, but there is always something else good to look forward to and plenty to give thanks for in the midst of change.  I’m clinging to that truth more than ever this year.  Nothing gold can stay.  Indeed.


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