“A change is gonna come” — Sam Cooke
Something mundane and innocuous happened today. This morning I noticed my wife was throwing away something that we as a family have outgrown. And yet, the implications of its removal impacted me far beyond the item itself, and I’ve spent a good part of the day thinking about what it means and what it says about seasons in our lives.
So what was the item…a humble Diaper Genie…that’s right, a special trashcan for disposing of baby diapers. So why would this item cause such philosophical reflection? Its a pretty great product, custom built for the challenges of diapers, but that is what it is specifically for, nothing else. And as of this morning, we no longer need one in the house. This is ultimately a good thing, as it means the twins have reliably moved beyond the need for diapers and us parents beyond the travails of potty training. But it also means our babies have grown past a stage of life, and as parents, we won’t see that stage again.
This one was actually the second edition of this product we’ve owned, the first having been given to us by a member of the #oMC and fellow parent at our first child’s baby shower over seven years ago. Seven years. For seven years this product has been a requirement in our family life – a thing that I attended to on an almost daily basis – and after today, I doubt I’ll ever own one again. And while a significant part of my heart aches at the idea that this season of having babies in our lives is changing, I’m simultaneously inspired about what it means for the future.
As any parent will tell you, raising kids is hard work, and ours have been no exception…and twins, woohoo, its a ride. During this time my wife and I have also been building careers, hers a steady crescendo, mine with a bit more peaks and valleys. For me at least there has been a recognition that regardless of what I thought I could undertake, or effort I thought I could commit to a project, the reality was that it would ultimately be metered by the time and energy required to be the parent I want to be. With today’s marker in time, its clear that this phase of intense commitment will soon be getting easier. Its true, when children turn 5, they become much more self reliant and the overall task of parenting lessens a bit.
Am I complaining? Absolutely not…this period of life has been magical, and even with all the challenges of the pandemic these last almost two years, we’ve had our children home and part of our daily existence in a way that office / day care life never allowed. And while it feels a bit like the leaves are turning yellow on this season of parenting, it simultaneously feels like green shoots are starting to emerge on the next season of work. I’m lucky that my passion is my vocation, even when it is hard, it is fun. And there is so much that I want to do…which hasn’t changed in the last seven years…its just now I can feel that there will be more energy that can go into it. I try not to look past any single day when it comes to the family, and I won’t rush this now, but its clear the days are starting to get longer.