I find it interesting that the changing of the leaves to the beautiful fall colors always makes me think about change and season of life in general. I don’t know why I don’t think this way through the changing of other seasons, but maybe it’s the drastic change from green to the brilliant yellows, oranges and reds that makes it so much more noticeable than the other seasons. Today as I thought about this, I thought about the different seasons of our lives and how they change kind of like the seasons of the year.

Thus, today’s post might be somewhat reminiscent for me, hopefully not super boring for you to read. My house is empty today, other than myself. My husband is at work. My oldest daughter is away on a mission for our church but will be home in November after 18 months of service. My second daughter is working with my husband today, she is still searching for her direction somewhat in life, so she gets to work with her dad in the meantime. My third child, the oldest son is at school. He is dually enrolled in high school and college, getting credit in both arenas as he completes college courses. My youngest, and second son is enrolled in a similar high school where he is taking college classes, getting high school credit as well. Same idea through different programs at the same place. It’s interesting.

When our kids were little and we were at home most of the time, I was able to teach and play with my kids all the time. We spent hours outside playing as well as hours inside reading, building, playing and learning. Then they started to go to school, we were so very busy with school, after school activities and events, programs and sports, field trips, all the fun stuff that takes what I thought was a lot of time. The elementary school they attended was just 8/10 of a mile from our house so everything was so convenient and quick. I homeschooled my kids through middle school, so we continued on with the convenient, at home or close to home lifestyle. One thing my kids have always let me know was how far out of town and away from friends we live, and those years of homeschooling didn’t help their attitudes improve.

Then we started kids in high school. Boy did I learn a little bit better what busy really was. The high schools that my kids attended and are currently attending, are not close to home as they are not our home area schools. A friend once asked me how many miles I drove a week. I said I would have to do the math, but I drove about 145 miles a day. 2 1/2 hours in the car just getting kids to seminary, school, and sports. It was a crazy amount of driving, but I loved having the kids in the car and the talks we had because there wasn’t anything else to do but talk. The kids loved being out away from home and with their friends so much more.

Then our oldest got her license. That was a huge relief on my time, at least I thought so. Then I started to miss the time, the huge amount of time I got to spend with my kids in the car. Since then, we have always had a teen driver to get themselves, and often their siblings wherever it is they need to go. It’s nice to have the help, but I have missed the time in the car. I have learned however, that the broken dishwasher has been a blessing, and that I probably won’t fix it any time soon. This has been a great uninterrupted time to talk with my kids one on one, as no one wants to risk having to help by standing in the kitchen visiting if they don’t have a chore to do already. I wash and they dry, and we talk about the day.

As time has passed however, and the kids have grown, and my time is more my own, I have thought and wondered what the next season of my life will look like. I have enjoyed learning to paint, and love sharing my art, and have recently enjoyed making YouTube videos and sharing more of what I love with the bigger world around me. I have a friend who had children quite a bit older than mine. I remember when her youngest left for college. I asked her what she was going to do with all her extra time. She asked me what extra time I was talking about, she never had extra time. Now as my kids get older and leave home, I am finding her words more and more true. I have plenty to do and lots of things I still want to do, and I look forward to the next season of my life. I also look forward to my kids coming home. My oldest daughter, who never wanted to live in rural Alaska ever again, has commented on several occasions as we have driven home from picking her up at the airport, that she can feel the stress of the world leave as she leaves the cities and people behind. She now loves coming home. Whether she, or any of our kids, will live close by or far away, I hope they know they can always come home. I may be busy doing my own thing, but I will always stop and make time for them.

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