Parenting Post – Linda Marten

Change and transitions are a fact of life on planet earth. And whether we like it or not, we (and our kids) will go through many transitions or “seasons” of our lives.
I like to think of the seasons as symbolic of what we go through on a personal level:
Times of Fall ~ of letting go, of pruning away the old, of ripening and enjoying the harvest of our labors;
Times of Winter ~ of dark, difficult times, of despair, depression, death, of going inside to reflect, of calm stillness, of a deep, cozy, slumber on a long winter’s night;
Times of Spring ~ when new life returns again and we are filled with new hope; when the seeds of new possibilities sprout & we are renewed and refreshed again!
Times of Summer ~ of long sunny days, of fun, travel, vacations and the happiness of coming into full bloom.

I have always loved the season of Fall, having grown up in Portland, Oregon. When my husband and I moved to Los Angeles 30 years ago, I really missed Fall and discovered a lot of people here were not aware of the seasons except from children’s books.

As you can imagine, our first year in LA was a huge transition and readjustment. We had only been married a year and had left all family & friends behind to start new jobs and a new life in a strange new land.
My Jewish friends call the year of readjustment after big changes, “A Year of Firsts”.
There were a lot of “firsts” that first year here: our first home here, our first holidays here with cousins I’d never met before, our first time with new doctors, banks, friends, freeways, etc. After the “Year of Firsts”, we were more adjusted to our new home in LA with new rituals, routines, and friends.

Now, 30 years later, after raising two kids (who both left home last year), I realize we have completed another “Year of Firsts”, adjusting to an “empty nest.” Older cultures seem to understand these seasonal changes that are bigger than our day to day lives. I find it comforting. It brings perspective and acceptance to times of transition and discomfort.

One of the ways I readjusted to Los Angeles involved hunting for signs of Fall. I happily discovered the brilliant yellow prehistoric Gingko tree that thrives here in Los Angeles. It, along with Liquid Amber trees, change color in the fall. (I excitedly pointed this out to people, but most were not interested.)

When we had kids, I made sure they learned about and experienced the changing of the seasons. We would go on walks to collect colorful leaves of red, yellow, and orange. Later, we brought other kids along. We led my son’s second grade classroom on a “field trip” collecting leaves from a tree-lined street full of Liquid Ambers. The kids loved it. When I became a Girl Scout leader, we did the same walk. The girls were thrilled to collect leaves and we all felt more connected to nature and its ever- changing beauty.

Transitions often feel like a tragedy, especially divorce or death. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked change, loss, & transitions. It helps to remember I’m not in charge of everything, that “nothing is created or destroyed, only transformed” and that in the grand scheme of things, it all works out somehow. After 30 years, Los Angeles is no longer a “strange new land”, but a special place full of people I love where I’ve learned that….

Transitions turn out to be …… a treasure in disguise.

This fall, take time with your kids to discover a Gingko tree in it’s yellow splendor.

For Linda’s upcoming workshops,

The Actors' Gang

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