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Why I happily embrace the awkward middle

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I have a history of falling into a late summer funk. It can be such a strange in-between place. Is it summer? Is it fall? Is it neither? Is it both? Should we give it a celebrity couple name and let it have an identity all its own? How about Summall? Or Fummer? Yes, Fummer.

Oh, Fummer. The stores roll out wreaths of faux fall leaves while the green grass still grows. Jeans and sweaters creep in when we all know it’s still plenty hot enough for swimsuits and sundresses. Starbucks brings back the pumpkin spice latte and we line up to throw our money at the drive thru window while there’s still a fresh watermelon in the fridge at home. It was 95 degrees on Tuesday, it’s 75 degrees today, and what tomorrow will be is anybody’s guess. These weeks don’t fit neatly into a seasonal box because they are a little bit of this and a little bit of that. They are the in-between.

The truth is, whether we’re talking about meteorological seasons or seasons in our personal lives, the in-between places can be hard. Change, progression, evolution- we all handle it differently. Some of us forge ahead, skipping over the awkward middle, anxious for the good things to come. Some of us drag our feet, avoiding the awkward middle, hesitant to let go of the good things that were. But you guys, the awkward middle can be so good.


The awkward middle is a job that isn’t yet what you want it to be, but definitely isn’t what it started as.

The awkward middle is a pregnancy that is growing a very real baby, but you mostly just feel bloated and tired.

The awkward middle is a preschooler who wants to do all the things by herself, but still needs snuggles when it storms at night.

The awkward middle is the teenager who is no longer a child, but is still has so much left to learn.

The awkward middle is a relationship that is more than casual, but not yet committed.

The awkward middle is a marriage that is long past the newlywed stage, but far from that golden anniversary.

The awkward middle is not making enough money to do it all yourself, but having too much to qualify for help.

The awkward middle is so much to do, but never enough time to do it.

Do you get it yet? It’s all the awkward middle. Life is the awkward middle. The awkward middle isn’t the rarity, it is the ordinary. The seasons that fit neatly in a box are the exception, not the rule. Enjoy those seasons. Enjoy the in-betweens, they can be so good.

If you can only be happy when all the pieces fit perfectly, please enjoy those three days of your life. I’ll be over here in that in-between place where this size jeans is too snug, but that size is too slouchy. You’ll find me having dinner with my husband where we’ll talk about where we’ve been, plan where we’d like to go, and give thanks for right where we are. I’ll be cuddled on the couch with my little girl before she tackles big kid preschool next week. You’ll find me in the place where the pumpkins have been harvested, but the pool is still warm enough to swim.

Is it summer or fall? The answer is yes and no. It’s both and it’s neither. It’s Fummer. It’s that in-between season that nobody really knows what to do with and I’m happily standing right in the middle of it.

For more stories on standing happily in the awkward middle of life, love, and parenthood, follow Happy Like This by Mandy McCarty Harris.

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