There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
Once I found her sitting in the bathroom sink. She was fully clothed, and the sink was overflowing as the faucet water continued to cascade down the sink like Niagara Falls as she brushed her teeth with my toothbrush. She was enjoying her self-created mini-pool immensely.
Then, I found her in the backyard, “clothed” only in mud from head to toe, running and jumping around like a puppy who had drunk a full can of Red Bull.
At my husband’s out-of-town championship softball tournament, she again found a puddle. No surprise, she was covered head to toe in mud with no change of clothes in tow. (Yes, she and mud had a strong affinity from the start.)
One time when we were shopping, I turned to grab something off the shelf; when I went to put it in the cart, I was horrified to find it empty. I panicked and started racing around, looking like a crazy woman I’m sure, searching for my little escape artist. I found her a couple aisles away chatting with a stranger, having the time of her life.
Then there was the time I was working with my daughter playing by my side, but, the next thing I knew I heard a concerto of sorts on a piano down the hall. I quickly turned to see that she had indeed disappeared. I ran to find my daughter stomping up and down the piano keys, precariously hanging onto the ledge; she was just learning to walk!
The times are just too many count. Like when I found her completely emptying my kitchen cupboards. Or sliding down a slide head-first.
My daughter kept me hopping. And then some... Can anyone relate?
But things have changed. She is all grown up, and I have learned to let go. Now when I don’t know where she is, I don’t look. (Although it is tempting sometimes.)
Easter found us without her. She's a flight attendant and that was her weekend to work. And our son had to leave at noon for work. Between work and college, time with him is precious as well.
For Mother’s day, my daughter informed me she would not be in town and would be flying. As I sat outside with my husband and son at a restaurant, she came around the corner, lilacs in a bottle in tow. Her schedule had changed and the four of us were able to enjoy a lovely meal together. Afterwards we went for a hike (no, she still can’t sit) while my son went to work. In the evening, my son joined us for an Office marathon (our favorite show to watch together). When he left, he left behind a typed list on the counter of “100 things that make my mom the best.” (He only made it to 49; but hey, I’ll take it.)
It was a great day.
And now, I don’t take these moments for granted. Being with both of my kiddos is a luxury.
Although I am very much ready in some ways—enjoying more of a friend stage with my children verses the training and parenting stage—let’s be honest, parenting is a lot of work, and I don’t have the endurance I once did (although those of you with older children know that parenting is never completely done). And I am so proud of who they have become—their love for God and others along with a strong work ethic.
But, with these gains, there are losses as well.
A loss of an unexpected ice-cream-sticky kiss or random tight neck squeeze.
A loss of finding lipstick all over the family dog.
A loss of “pictures” they drew for you proudly displayed on the fridg.
A loss of kissing their owies and telling them how brave they are.
A loss of being there, literally, when they fall.
A loss of knowing where they are, who they are with, and are they all right?
I am writing this because I want young moms to believe what I was told and had a hard time believing at the time:
Life with your young ones is short, and it is incredibly precious.
Enjoy this time with your children, for soon it will be gone. Just like the milk cartoon you find in your fridg. Empty. Again.
Yes, this insane and often sleep-deprived time can be very hard. I remember there were times I didn’t think it would ever end, and I’ll be honest, there were days I really wanted it to.
But it does. And then you say, along with your girlfriends as a stroller passes by, “Remember? Wasn’t that us just yesterday?”
I want you to enjoy this time more than I did. To laugh more. To relax more... To let the messes sometimes accumulate.
I remember once my daughter was on the kitchen floor with a small bucket of dish-soap-bubbly water and tiny dishes from her “kitchen.” The floor looked like a frothing stream, but in a rare moment of clarity, I plopped on the floor beside her and contributed to the cascading, bubbly mess.
I wish I would have done that more.
And don't waste precious time worrying and wondering if you are doing everything exactly perfectly. Do your best, teaching them through the mud and the messes how much God loves them. Let them know how much you love them. Lighten your schedule sometimes. Connect with the One who will give you strength and wisdom. And pray.
It is enough. You are enough.
God takes care of the rest. He will finish what he started in them, just as he is doing with you (Phil. 1:6). It’s hard to remember sometimes, but He loves them more than you do.
So if you find your daughter running around covered in mud, find the nearest mud puddle and scoop up some mud and slather it across your face and arms and run around with her like the crazy, sleep-deprived mom you already are. Run with it.
Enjoy the craziness, the unkeptness, the consuming and unpredictability of this time in your life.
For it is just that...a small snippet of time in your life.
Our Heavenly Father, thank you so much for entrusting us with these little ones. As mothers. As aunts. As grandmothers. These little ones are one of your greatest gifts to us. We seek your guidance and wisdom, peace, patience and love. We know you fully fill us for this task. We thank you and praise you for you are a good God. We thank you that you love us and our children beyond our understanding. Amen
What can I do to make moments with my children more peace- and joy-filled?