To everything, there is a season

I’ve been thinking a lot about the seasons of life.

Perhaps it’s the sign of a mid-life crisis (arriving late!) or a symptom of the pandemic’s extended unwind. Maybe it’s my resistance to change, which surfaced early, according to the story my mom used to tell about how I would cry every time she put on sunglasses.

On Monday, as I watched our 2-year-old next-door neighbor toddle over and try to decide whether she wanted to say “trick or treat,” I couldn’t help but think of Ainsley’s first Halloween on our block, when she was dressed as Minnie Mouse.

This year, she decided not to go out — even though she had picked out a hilarious pickle costume. She just wasn’t in the mood. And I think she recognizes that Halloween isn’t quite as much fun when you’re in middle school as it is when you’re in elementary or preschool.

Teens are in a season of life when they are simultaneously desperate to grow up and longing to return to the simpler joys of childhood.

As the parent of a teen, I’m in a strange season as well. I miss the days Ainsley donned a witch or Cinderella or Laura Ingalls costume and traversed the neighborhood in search of treats. At the same time, I enjoy seeing her grow into a young woman who is compassionate, talented and has a great sense of humor. (Hence the pickle costume.)

Other times I miss my own childhood, especially around the holidays. I would love to return to the Thanksgiving dinners of the 1970s in the dining room of the house where I grew up, my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles seated around the table. I’d be happy to roll the clock back even a half a dozen years to have my mom, her sweetheart Chuck and Dan’s parents around our Thanksgiving table. Instead, we’ll share a mid-day meal with Dan’s dad and Chuck at their assisted living facility before having our neighbor over for dinner. (I’m serving turkey schnitzel, thanks to food columnist Amy McCauley’s great recipe on Page 23.)

We are in a season when there are fewer family members around our holiday table than there used to be. Someday, when Ainsley is married and has a family, we hope to see that trend reversed. I imagine us crammed together, elbow to elbow, enjoying a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast.

I love to think of life as an upward trajectory, marked by continual improvement in all areas. Of course, that’s not now it works. Life ebbs and flows.

I stumbled across a poem this week titled “Ebb & Flow,” posted by a poet named Atticus on Instagram. It spoke to me, and I hope it speaks to you, too.

the earth breathes deep and lets us go

the waves roll in and off they go

a girl smiles bright then off she goes

the waves roll in and off they go

love fills us up and then no more

the waves roll in and off they go

sadness is here then here no more

the waves roll in and off they go

the sun comes out and then it snows

the waves roll in and off they go

the land is dead but then it grows

the waves roll in and off they go

we can’t go on but here we go

the waves roll in and off they go

content at last and there that goes

the waves roll in and off they go


and so we battle trading blows

an old soul dies a new babe grows

time comes quick and then it slows

our life comes and there it goes

waves roll in and off they go

— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

Author Bio

Author photo

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean