Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Seasons of Life

As we celebrate the arrival of Fall, it reminds me how our lives have “seasons” as well. I’ve always been a big fan of summer. You know, our lifestyles are more causal, we bring out the flip flops and things seem to just move at a slower pace. But with Fall, it brings new beginnings. The days slowly begin to get shorter, the leaves change color, and the kids start back to school, and the holidays are just around the corner. I’ve always thought of Fall as the beginning of the “real” year, not the calendar year. There are so many things that change when Fall arrives.

Life is just like the seasons of the year. We experience change, growth, and if we are lucky we pass the time and witness the calendar months flying by, with those we love; friends and family. Recently I went to a baby shower. While we all do these things, this one was special to me. It was the daughter, and granddaughter of two of my dealers who are also my friends, Leslie and Margaret. They have been at the store since day one (16 years ago), and we have definitely gone through those seasons of life together. As my granddaughter Riley ran around the baby shower like the crazy little toddler she is, and I watched pregnant Emily open her baby gifts, it took me back. I remembered the days when Emily and her siblings and my three kids would spend afternoons in our swimming pool on those hot Fall days after elementary school let out for the day. I felt very grateful to be at the baby shower, and also to have been a part of this family for so long.

Speaking of crazy toddlers running around, my little Riley just turned two at the end of August. I wondered how she got to be two so quickly. I thought of everything that had happened in my own seasons of life over those past two years. I lost my mom, Riley’s great-gramma, four days after she was born. I lost my dad, little Riley’s great-grandpa, five months after that. But instead of mourning the sadness of the loss, I remind myself that is what life is about. I look to the good things, that my mom was able to hang on long enough until Riley was born and then was able to finally “let go”. And my dad was the lucky one that got to hold Riley in his arms, and as he said on our last Christmas together that year, “your mom would have loved this baby so much”.

We celebrated Riley’s second birthday at Disneyland. All of us: myself, Riley, Katie, Vinnie, Brande, Bryce and Justine, ALL my kids were there to make her birthday special. I sat at lunch that day, looking around the table and felt so very, very grateful to have what I did that day, my family, the life I’ve been blessed with. There have been seasons of my life in the past when we weren’t all able to be together like this. So we rode all the rides, watched Riley’s big blue eyes sparkle at the magic of Disneyland, and most of all, we just laughed. As corny as it sounds, you have to celebrate those moments, the simple things, the day, and remind yourself how fortunate and grateful we should be to have days like this.

Country Roads has truly been a gift to me. It’s so much more than “just” a store! I’ve been given so many unique opportunities to experience the seasons of life with family, friends, and strangers. I always look at each day as a story waiting to be told. I believe in finding the positive in my days, even the worst of days. As the holiday season approaches, keep positive and be grateful for those you have in your lives. Just as some family and friends may go, never forget to celebrate those that are still with you. Be grateful for those seasons of life! Happy Holidays

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