You can have it all, but not all at once.
They say that change is the only constant in life. That’s certainly held true for me.
Lately, the winds have been shifting for our little family here in Central Texas. One big change just came sweeping through, we’re preparing for another big change to come, and I can see still one more on the horizon ahead.
For me, personally, one of the biggest changes ahead is that this fall, both of my girls will head to full-day school for the first time–which means that for the first time in seven years, I won’t be caring for the little people at home for the majority of my day.
Seven years ago, I left the workforce and became a full-time stay-at-home-mom. It was a huge sacrifice for us financially, but to be honest, it was also a really difficult role for me to assume. Don’t misunderstand: it wasn’t a difficult decision for me – I had no doubt that I wanted to do it – but it was still a difficult role.
I’d always been the over-achiever, the big dreamer, the one who went after her goals and made things happen. To suddenly find myself at home alone all day with my precious baby girl who depended on me to meet her every need–well, it was wonderful, yet terrifying; lonely, yet beautiful; depressing, yet fulfilling.
Over the years since, it’s gotten easier and harder. We’ve added another girl to our family through the miracle of adoption, and they’ve both grown older and more independent, yet in some ways they still need their mama more than ever.
And I’m okay with that. In fact, I love it. I will miss them both so very much next school year, I know that.
But I’m also looking forward to this new season. And I use the word “season” intentionally. One of the biggest things I’ve learned since I became a mother seven years ago is that just as seasons change in nature, so too do they change in life. Wherever I find myself, in whatever season, it rarely lasts for long. Change is a constant.
We’ve gone through many seasons as a family. Some were harder than others; some were longer and some were shorter (and some were short but felt long!).
Seasons change for us as people, too. Our dreams may be set aside for awhile, or for good. Our goals change, new career plans are made, new dreams are born. I’ve given seven years to being a full-time mama with littles at home, and during this season, I’ve set aside many of my own dreams and plans and goals. I don’t regret a moment of it.
But I always knew that it was only for this season. There is both grief and beauty in that truth, that this season–though it has often felt interminable–will indeed end someday. And when that day comes, some of the dreams that I set aside can be picked up again, or new dreams can be pursued. And there is both grief and beauty there, as well–beginnings and endings all interwoven together, so bittersweet.
I once heard someone say that you can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once. There is much wisdom in those words, and I do my best to remember them as I look at the arc of my life. I know that in our fast-paced world, we’re told to “seize the day”, and I understand the sentiment behind it, but in some ways, that mentality does us a disservice.
The pressure to seize the day and make the most of every moment can rob us of our joy in the present. But it can also destroy the measured, patient hope we have for our future, looking ahead at other seasons to come and trusting that the dreams we’ve had to put up on the shelf will still be there waiting for us when we’re ready to dust them off again.
Because the truth is that we really can’t have it all at once, but someday, I hope to be able to look back over my life and say that I did indeed have it all in the end.
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