I'm feeling contemplative of late.
Perhaps it's the fall weather, encouraging introspection and turning in as the year winds its way down. From here, it's the whirlwind slide through the holidays into winter and the new year. The days are growing shorter, and I am soaking in the sun's warmth before it disappears for the few months that somehow last longer than the rest of the year combined. Already, I spend my days in long sleeves and cardigans, and my nights snuggled under a pile of blankets.
Though this mood cannot entirely be explained away by the weather.
Perhaps it's me coming to grips with having a 6-year-old, a little boy, now, in elementary school. The thought struck me today that his next birthday is 7. The year I was 7 was a major turning point in my life, and many of the events that happened that year shaped the fears and anxieties that I still fight. The idea that Miles is approaching that age gives me pause.
But that's just another piece of the puzzle.
Perhaps, it's the health scare my newborn niece had this past weekend. It is not my place to share her story publicly, but for a couple of days there, all of us were worried about what her future might hold. In the past day and a half, there have been some answers, and she has made some wonderful progress. In time, she will probably be entirely fine. But the raw fear that struck my heart on Friday is not something that will soon be forgotten. I came home from visiting her last night, seeing that she was indeed feeling better, and snuggled Sam until long after I should have left her to fall asleep.
And that was a major factor, but it's not everything.
More than anything, I think I'm realizing that once more, I am in a transitional phase of my life. The baby years are over in this house. My anxiety is finally (more or less) under control. My evening plans are dictated by bedtimes, and my alarm clock by the school drop-off line. I have more freedom than I once did, as a mother, now that Sam is in Kids' Day Out twice a week. And really, even when she's home, she is often content to play alone. My time is not my own, and yet, I seem to have a lot of it to fill some days.
A part of me yearns for the day that I can go back to work, doing something outside the house that is both fulfilling and helps pay the bills. The other part of me is clinging to what I have, with both children is such fun stages of their lives. I love volunteering with Miles' school, but I worry about overextending myself, and letting people down. I have hobbies I want to pursue, but there are so many of them that I get frozen in indecision and play games on my phone instead.
I am realizing that the process of finding oneself is never over. It is a continuous journey that will probably end only when I am done changing. And if I've learned anything in this life, it is that I am ever-changing.
And that requires contemplation from time to time.