A day of heavy rain last week has stripped the trees of their already short-lived leaves of red and gold. I find myself stopping, staring out windows as I walk through the house, trying to figure out what I’m seeing. Was that there before? It’s a rooftop formerly obscured by leaves, a large rock previously hidden by the bushes encircling it, a car passing on the road across the valley, its bright color now standing out against the brown, leaf strewn hills. We live in the middle of thirty acres of fields and woods. There is a view from every window that changes with the season. Now the barren trees portend the winter that is to come, yet their starkness also reveals sights that have been concealed by leaves since spring.
I am looking forward to spring more than ever this year. Lauren will move into her own home in May. It will be a huge change in her life....and in mine. Our journey to this point has reflected much of the very nature of the seasons we experience in the northeast. Lauren’s early years were our spring. Everything was new and fresh. A new child, a new diagnosis, new direction and trials in our lives, all struggling to rise above the surface like leaves pushing through the dense, snow-hardened earth. The summer was long. Those years of plodding, surviving through the battles to meet Lauren’s physical, medical, educational, and social needs were like the long, sun-scorched days of a particularly, hot, brutal summer. And now, even though she is still so young, it feels like fall is approaching. The leaves that have shrouded our view of what lies beyond the struggle have begun to fall away, and we have a clearer view of the future. The mass of green leaves has now given way to a vivid display of many shades and colors much like Lauren’s life seems to be expanding, ripening, maturing into something far richer than she’s ever known. I hope it is a long time before winter comes. I hope that we are building a life for her that will sustain her for many seasons to come.