What I Learned in September

Emily over at Chatting at the Sky has made it a practice to record the things she learns each month. It’s a valuable habit, this habit of reflection, and so I’ve been joining her in it this year. If you’d like to join us as we remember, you can comment on this post with what you learned, or head over to Emily’s site and link up there.

1. Four bushels of apples is a LOT.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may be tired of hearing about my apples. I’ve just about finished processing all of them, so I’ll try not to mention them again in the near future! But, my goodness, will I be glad when those last pieces of fruit are in jars or freezer bags.

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2. I’m not in college anymore.

It should be obvious, I suppose, that I’m no longer a kid, seeing as I’ve had a career and am now a mom, seeing as my marriage is eight years old and it started after I had finished school. I’m solidly into my thirties, with all the experiences and responsibilities that accompany that. And yet, I often think of myself as young, still, as being just out of school, as being a kid in so many ways.

Well. We hosted a group of college-aged young adults one friday night, invited them over for dinner and dessert and time in the hot tub, and listening to them talk made me feel old. College is a long way behind me, now – almost ten years! – and I’m no longer a young one. Of course, I still have so much growing and learning to do – and will, for as long as I live – but really. When did this happen?

3. Some days, it helps to get out of the house.

Despite the hassle of packing a diaper bag, of disrupting the routine, of settling Katie into her car seat and dealing with her frustration in being there, getting out of the house can be good for me. Even if it’s just to go for a walk, or to do some grocery shopping, or to head to the library, it’s good for both of us to have some time somewhere else. Especially during the weeks when Jonathan is away for work.

4. Some toddlers don’t need long afternoon naps, and their mothers still survive.

Katie transitioned from two naps to one this past month. Instead of taking a long afternoon nap, however, as “they” say she should, she wakes after an hour and a quarter, and so my kid-free time during the day has been cut in half from what it used to be. That first week or two, as we were figuring things out, was rough – for me more than for her – and I admit there’s a part of me that yearns for a longer stretch of uninterrupted time in the afternoons for writing or reading or catching up on things that need doing around the house, yearns for a few hours where I am not constantly needed.

But. We are surviving, and adjusting to the new routine, and life is good even though naps are short.20150918_102857

5. I enjoy writing short blog posts!

For most of the life of this blog, I only published something new once or twice a week, favoring pieces that are longer, more drawn-out than the quick, 500-word posts that tend to be more common to this medium. I would mull over a post for days, thinking about it and tweaking it until it was just right. But with Katie’s change in schedule, I ran out of time, found myself frittering my time away elsewhere and posting nothing at all. So, I decided to experiment a bit, to try short vignettes, windows into my day, starting with this post about fall. I’d call the experiment a success: not only have I been more consistent in my writing and produced some good, thoughtful, encouraging (I hope!) posts, I’ve had fun in the process!

6. It’s ok – and often good – to share my struggles with those around me.

For the past several months (and by “several months,” I mean, off and on since last fall) I’ve been feeling an increasing restlessness in this stay-at-home life I’ve chosen. Jonathan and I have had many a talk about vocation, about purpose and meaning and influence, about value and identity, about messages I’ve absorbed from both society and the church, and I’ve filled page upon page of my journal wrestling with all the conflicting emotions (joy! fear! hope! boredom! nostalgia! frustration! excitement! impatience! confinement! gratitude!).

Over the course of September, I took the opportunity to talk to several friends about the ways that this season can be hard – friends who have been here, friends who are here now, friends who don’t have kids and friends who do – and the simple act of saying, “This is hard,” and having somebody reply, “Yes. It is,” helped immensely. Though I’m sure I will continue to have questions, though hard days are sure to be a part of every stage of parenting (and, indeed, of life itself), I am much more content, much more at peace than I was at the beginning of the month.

How about you? What did you learn in September?

This Thing Called Life

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2 Responses to What I Learned in September

  1. I love this! So many of your things collide with my own thoughts about life, blogging and all that in between.

    I hear you on that age thing. We hosted a youth night as well this month for the first time in like 15 years… long story! My hubby and I both walked away from that evening saying… “we are so NOT youth pastors anymore!” And I’m so glad I lived through that and am done with that phase of living.
    I get your blogging thing as well. I try and be consistent but then life gets all tangled up and the immediate pulls me away from writing. I’m working hard at getting that time and holding it more sacred.

    Thank you for sharing your words with us. I always love this monthly link up to connect with others and see what God is doing in each of us! ~ Thanks, Rachel (your neighbor at Emily’s place)

    • Jenn says:

      Thank you, Rachel! It’s fun to “meet” new people each month and see what they’re learning too. I often find myself thinking “Hey, I learned that too!” as I visit others’ posts. 🙂