Waiting on the Leaves

All of our leaves are still green, I am searching for color. The flowers around the yard are mostly gone, lone sunflower stalks self planted as the seeds slide from bird feeders are our only reminders of summer. Yet fall hasn’t actually arrived with glory either. I look for those reds, bright oranges and yellows. I crave the smell of bonfires and the sound of crunchy leaves under foot. Crisp apples, warm cider in mugs, orange pumpkins on the porch, a new season. We are in the in-between, the waiting. Transition time is rarely beautiful, rarely easy on the eyes.

Mama is carrying a new baby, due in just over 3 months. She calls me several times daily, I make the 5 minute trek to her apartment at least 3 times a week. She asks for help setting up the nursery, organizing clothes. We already set up her kitchen when she first moved in to this new apartment, one much closer to our home. We already set up Plum’s room, organized Lego totes and attached Minecraft posters to the wall. We set up the pantry and the built shelves. Trip after trip taking benches, chairs, metal racks, end tables, from our home to hers, transitioning her and Plum into a home not just an apartment. Long chats throughout our tasking, mama talks and asks and owns her past mistakes. Two years ago I would never have imagined helping her again like this, somehow I knew we always would. It was an ugly transition time. We are on the other side, bright colors of forgiveness and maturity, of grace and love, yes, love. In spite of myself I love this woman-child.

A year ago we picked up our Arrow from prison, full of hope for a fresh start. We brought him home, fed him, clothed him, gave him a job. We gave him access to a car. We didn’t give him adulthood. He had to leave to find that. He is coming back into our lives on his own terms, on our terms too, but as a man, not just as our child. He calls, always some excuse because still he cannot just say he wants to talk to his mom. He visits his son, a lifeline for Arrow. I don’t know his day to day, where he lives, who his friends are. This is good. Arrow and I can get too close, then we get unhealthy. I worry, try to save him, forget he has to save himself. Our horrible transition several months ago was heartbreaking, now he is transitioning back in a way that doesn’t hurt any of us. I am beginning to find patches of light with my Arrow, when he shows me what he works on, when he eats lunch at my table, takes home plastic bowls of left-overs. He is grateful again. I feel touches of pride. Slowly we are making our way back, allowing hurt from the past to fade as the colors of now take over.

I wish I knew what this waiting time means for Chef and I. Dragging on, fear and anger begin to rise again. The mortgage lender doesn’t want to hear that we are trusting in God’s timing. We celebrated having so much time together, now we get on each other’s nerves. Colors are fading, the leaves aren’t turning yet. This transition doesn’t feel like movement, it feels like stuck. Remembering past waiting times reminds me that something incredibly better was coming, something I couldn’t foresee. I just have to keep doing the thing in front of me, the next thing that is right and good. The fog will lift, brilliant colors will explode before my eyes. I will tell a story of waiting and the joy that came after.

Today I see green leaves and long for red and yellow. I long for apple cider and security and bills caught up. I long for brilliant yellow and health insurance. Today I am waiting, tomorrow the leaves may begin to turn.

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