I’ve been feeling particularly pensive in recent days. Perhaps it’s because my baby will soon be driving. How is that possible? He’s like, four. Two years ago, he came up to my shoulder. Today, I barely reach his shoulder.
Perhaps it’s because my oldest is a junior in college. She’s beautiful and strong and independent, and has an enviable job and maintains a 4.0 average. Okay, maybe a 3.8. But when I look at her, I still see a chubby-cheeked cherub, plump little fists holding bouquets of backyard flowers, begging her daddy not to mow them down.
It’s made me face a fact I’m not ready to face: I’m getting old. Not false-teeth-and-orthopedic-shoes old, but older. I’m entering the autumn of my life . . . the time when the leaves turn red and orange and gold in a last-ditch effort to grab one more moment of glory. That’s me, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
As I perused this mental photograph in my mind, I tried to make it okay. Autumn is gorgeous, right? It’s arguably the most stunning season, full of blaze and brilliance. Autumn is a time when the trees have done their work, and now they can relax and let go. Autumn is loose and easy and soft. It’s always been my favorite season. So I should be happy, right? I listed all the beautiful qualities of autumn and finally decided that yes, I am happy about this new phase of my life. It’s gonna be great.
I shared my thoughts with my husband. He wasn’t nearly as excited as I wanted him to be. “Speak for yourself,” he said. “You can get old if you want. I’ve still got a lot of summer left in me.”
Now, considering he’s five years my senior, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. Should I tell him he’s fooling himself? Should I tell him he left summer behind ages ago, and is on a downhill slide to winter?
But then I remembered Indian summer! It may look like slow and easy autumn, but summer’s still got some oomph and pow in store. I have plenty of happy, sweat-stained days and watermelon moments and cannonball splashes in my future. Hopefully not any more belly flops, though. I’ve had more than my share of those.
Indian summer, according to Mirriam-Webster, is a period of warm weather in late autumn or early winter. It also refers to a happy or pleasant time near the end of someone’s life or career. Considering I’m just beginning my first autumn, and considering I live in Texas where winter nearly never ever comes, I’d say I’m in good shape. I need to go shopping for short-shorts and a bikini. Or at least some walking shorts and a tank top.
I have a whole lifetime ahead of me. I will travel. I will sing. I will try a new career or three. I could quite possibly land a NYT bestseller, win an Oscar, run for president.
Okay, probably not that last one.
The truth my dear, hunky, summer-young husband reminded me of is this: the best is yet to come. As a follower of God, the best is always yet to come.
I can’t wait.
“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you,” Psalm 31:19.