As one season ends, another begins

Published 9:26 pm Friday, February 19, 2010

It is believed that King Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” I am more aware of the truth behind Solomon’s verse today than any other, as I watch my youngest splash in the emerald-green waters of the Gulf. He is playing free, without responsibility, worry or care. Yet this season of his life is about to expire, for my Colin-Finn starts kindergarten next week. Homework, learning and peer pressure bob on his horizon, like the sun setting over the waters.

A part of me wishes I could hold onto him — “Hold him back just one more year,” I tell myself. For I will miss our early morning cartoons, he with his chocolate milk and I with my coffee. I will miss our bike rides to the park, racing back in time to pick up his older brothers from school. I will miss his favorite picture books on rainy afternoons.

Though I’d love to keep him at home, where his heart is protected and his innocence flourishes, like the ocean releases its shells upon the seashore, it is time to release him. On our first trip to the Gulf, he held my hand on the shoreline, as the waves tickled our toes. Now, I am amazed as he plunges under the surface with his snorkel gear, ready to discover a different world from his own.

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Soon, he emerges, with a net full of treasures. I rave over his broken shells, as a smile lights up his face. I place them with the others in a bag to take home, knowing one day this season will end — broken pieces won’t be enough.

The seagulls fly by, and he turns to chase them down the beach, but they are faster than he, and they fly away. How quickly his toddler years flew by — in a blur of cartoons and picture books, he grew. I wonder if I will be tempted to watch our favorite cartoons alone, or will I float effortlessly into the next season of my life. The unknown future pushes me between the colorful waves of excitement and the dark waters of dread.

Colin-Finn plops down in front of me. The sand sticks to his wet skin. I quietly pray that my teaching sticks to him as well. He grabs handfuls of white, powdery sand. It trickles out of his hands and into the wind.

“Look, Momma!” he says. “I can’t hold onto it.”

Don’t I know it.