This year has been a strange one for me, with brand new experiences and changes that I never could have anticipated:
We have twins. I was so sick for most of my pregnancy, starting the week of Christmas 2010. I went into pre-term labor at 31 weeks. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks. My water broke and my babies were born 5 weeks early. My sweet daughters were in the NICU for 16 days. I lived in the hospital from the first of June until the end of July. August, they were home. We're still finding the rhythm of our new life together.
It feels like just yesterday that Andy and I were leaving for an absolutely beautiful Fall in Europe. We left the end of September, and had been there a month by now. Where were we on Halloween? I have to go back to our pictures and look. We were in Cinque Terre, Italy with my aunt and uncle. Oh, to be back on the coastal cliffs, hiking through vineyards and enjoying wine, gelato, and fresh anchovies!
Now, I am here in my pajamas watching my two precious daughters nap. A very different life, and I feel older. I am a deeper person. A year ago, I was collecting souvenirs and memories of canal boats, gastronomy and architecture. They sit on my shelves and hang from my walls and surround me as I go about my day, caring for these little souls that bring me more joy than I could have ever imagined.
I don't necessarily wish to go back and be the carefree young married couple of one year ago that we were, going wherever and doing whatever we wanted; it's the memories we made that keep me smiling about the richness of my life and, ironically, keep me here in the moment, knowing firsthand how quickly time passes.
The trees are a little more bare every time I venture outdoors, and I want to take a moment to breathe in the smell of leaves and moss. Pretty soon, the smell will shift to a hoary, woody smell. Take a moment with me to recall your own past autumns, and think about what made them memorable.
People tell me to cherish this time in life, when the girls aren't mobile and are still cuddly and dependent, and I truly feel that I am taking their advice to heart and doing just that.
This is what I am taking away from my moment of seasonal reflection: Moments of relational joy create memories that last a lifetime. Be here, now, in the moment, and breathe it in deeply.