We went to the pumpkin patch last weekend.
And as they do most days, my hands felt so full. Full of sippy cups, full of wipes and full of little hands dragging me along.
But they also felt vaguely empty.
Because by this time of year, I expected I would have something else to hold and rest my hands on—in that way that expecting mothers do.
A few months ago, I thought I would be seven months pregnant when pumpkins were picked. And then when that plan was forced from my grasp, a new expectation came in its place. An expectation that I would instead be five months pregnant as the holidays neared. But then that hope had to be abandoned, too.
So, despite the happiness that pony rides and corn mazes brought, I still felt another one of those little pangs of grief as the day came and went and I acknowledged the things my hands did not and would not hold.
It was just another little milestone passed that reminds me that life does go on. Even when my heart isn’t really ready for it to.
The cool winds still come. The leaves still fall.
And the seasons of life still change.
And with their passing, come little, unexpected moments that still make my heart stop and my eyes fill.
Little moments that no one notices, but I feel.
And with the hurt comes the guilt, because I know my hands are still so full. Full of sweet bellies to tickle, hands to hold. Two beautiful little people to raise and to know.
I should be grateful.
Well, let me just tell you in hopes of convincing myself:
We don’t have to choose.
We can feel them both.
We can be both immeasurably blessed and heartbreakingly disappointed at the same time.
We can hold space for both of these seemingly obstinate emotions.
And we can hold onto them while we cast off the burden of guilt.
Because, momma, deep down you and I both know we can hold so much more than just one thing at a time.
It doesn’t just apply to strollers and water bottles, sweaters and snacks.
We can hold hope with grief.
Joy with sorrow.
Faith with doubts.
And the born with the lost.
It’s okay that our heart and arms remain so full with what we’ve been given, but ache for what has been taken away. It doesn’t mean we’re letting go of one to hold the other.
It means we know how to do this delicate act of holding on tightly to the things that matter—even when they are slippery or heavy.
Because you and I are used to this work of carrying many things.
We do it every single day.
And I promise we can do it again—right now—even amidst the relentless changing of a season.