We caught a grasshopper with his fancy chevron legs sunbathing during the mums last hurrah. We didn't have to zip our jackets up all the way and I didn't protest too loudly when the hats and mittens were ditched.
How thankful I am that this is only the warning shot. I know Indiana winters, I know that I've got time. And, I know that realistically I'll probably not be any more organized and prepared a month from now when the winds howl and the flurries come to stay and not merely visit.
There's a metaphor here and I'm going to stick with it for a moment.
I'm turning forty next month.
(That might have everything to do with it.)
Part of me wants to completely freak out and part of me wants to handle it with grace and rock star cool. The end result is perhaps the quietest roller coaster ride ever, me sitting upright and wide-eyed, panicked but not wanting to impolitely scream (or maybe just not wanting to scream because everyone expects you to when you turn forty? If there is anything I hate being, it is a cliche.)
That whisper soft creaking sound I imagine you hear in the margins of this post, groaning like an old porch-swings' springs? That would be me slowly coming unhinged.
I'm not quite ready.
That not quite ready feeling happens to me frequently. It seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life. It is why I never ever aced a pop quiz, failed my driver's test (twice), sobbed during my last high school swim meet, bailed out early during my graduation party, and dated my husband almost five years before we got married. I just wasn't ready.
I can't wait to grow up and get out of here. What? It is time to leave home already? Where are you going? Wait. I can't do this. I'm going to fail.
We've been planning this wedding for 18 months, but really? Right now? The music is playing and the doors are about to open? I can't breathe. I can't do this.
I've been pregnant for 41 weeks, but it happened so fast. How is it time for the baby to come already? I'm not ready.
Are they really going to send this tiny creature home with us? Alone?!
I blinked and she's walking. I blinked again and the of two became the six of us.
Is it really true that I am their mother? Oh, Lord, I know they need me but I am just not ready.
Wasn't it only yesterday Diane and I were six year olds dressed up in leotards, painting our eyelids bright blue with shadow from the coveted daisy jar in the bathroom drawer? Swinging on the trapeze, fancy backyard circus performers on the swingset while my mama took Polaroids?
My parents don't live in that house anymore. I haven't seen Diane for decades. I wonder whatever happened to that little yellow and white jar of baby blue eyeshadow?
One of my dearest childhood friends became a grandmother this past Summer.
There are no more babies in my household of toddlers to tweens. And who is this salt and peppered gentlemen with my husband's boyish grin sitting across from me at the dinner table?
Who is this woman-child whose head comes up to my chin? Where did my babies go?
I'm just not ready.
... ... ... ... ...
And, yet, somehow, even though I panic and I'm always scared because I know right down to my bones that it is impossible that I could handle anything ... here I am, every single day a survivor and not only that! Not only that, friends, but thriving and loving and living and rejoicing and so blessed to be adding up moments of such delirious happiness that my heart might actually burst.
Maybe, just maybe, I'm one of those people who isn't meant to be ready, to be prepared. Maybe it is okay to stumble forward, blindly reaching toward the next step. There's more out there, more happiness and yes, more sadness, too. There will be love, there will be loss. I'll fail, I'll succeed, and with God's blessing I'll have my share of mediocre days, perhaps filling up another forty years and then some.
I'm scared and excited all at once.
Forty, you say? On my next birthday? Impossible! I'm still waiting to grow up. I'm not ready.
I know the winters are coming, I know the snow will fall.
Yet somehow every year it takes me by surprise.
Isn't it wonderful?