Change. Often difficult to grasp and accept, it happens to all of us. As the road bends and curves and the anticipation of what is ahead grows, the beauty of the moment can be forgotten in the thoughts of what is coming next. God never intended for us to live our lives constantly looking ahead or even looking in the rearview mirror at all that is behind us, wishing we could go back. Each season has such beauty all its own to be enjoyed and cherished. God, give me the insight to remember to take in the moment and savor the beauty and uniqueness of each season.
This week has been a week of forgetting to enjoy today. I have spent far too much time looking back at all the years behind me, remembering the messes and celebrations of the “firsts”. Those years are precious but focusing on all that once was is not good for the soul when the season of today looks nothing like the moments of all the yesterdays that have passed. Yet I can also get caught looking ahead to all the tomorrows where my mind plays the “what if” game. Creating scenarios and situations that may never occur is a precarious, dangerous place to land. I have no idea what my – or my children’s – tomorrows will look like, and I do not want to spend my time focusing my energy on things that have not taken place yet. With only one child left who will one day leave as the oldest two have done, the years of family dinners and “where will you be?” and picking up dishes and organizing schedules are nearly gone. They are slipping away. My calendar counts two more years before he leaves for college like the older ones. Two years sounds like a lot when they are young, but as birthdays pass and independence grows, those years pass by faster and faster. The seasons blend together so quickly I can hardly catch my breath preparing for the next thing.
This week brought goodbyes as the two oldest headed to school. One out of state and one at the university. While these are expected seasons all parents prepare for, the heart just cannot keep up. Missing days gone by does not cease when they are potty trained or can ties their own shoes or can drive their own cars. Interest in their activities, pride at their accomplishments, and the anticipation of the open door to bring them home at night does not diminish with age. A momma’s heart still needs hugs and I love you’s and talk of the day’s events and details of their lives. Yet as the bags are packed, the schoolbooks bought and the backpacks filled with calculators and notebooks and pens, the tears begin to roll quietly down hot cheeks wishing for those old days long gone. Just a little more time. Another chance to celebrate the lost tooth, the first day of school, the awards and the games attended on rainy, humid, sticky nights.
What a chasm my heart experienced this week at the loss of two littles moving on with their lives, preparing for their futures, growing their independence. Yet the junior still departs every morning and comes home every afternoon. He still has stories and questions and asks for approval to go out with friends. He still needs home cooked meals and papers signed for school. He is growing in independence too, but his dependence on parents and the warm bed in the basement is still there. Two more years. Please time, slow down, and let me remember to enjoy these moments. Please mind, help me enjoy the frustrating days as much as I enjoy the good ones. And when the big ones, the college kids text or call, please heart, help me to be supportive and loving and show interest in every part of their journey.
Just last night, my sweet husband and I were in the kitchen talking. As he sat on the counter listening to my heart, watching the tears roll down my cheeks, we started to talk about the years to come. Those days of quiet with just the littlest, the one with the broken body who will never leave our home. Those days when it will be quiet and still in the house. Those days when the driveway and street are empty of known cars and there are no shoes strewn across the tile on the entryway floor. We talked of hobbies and interests and volunteer work and dreams. We looked to our own futures and what we want to see in the coming days. We discussed the importance of friends and spending time with others. We planned activities and hobbies and social groups. And at the end of the day, when my head laid on my pillow and I settled into the sheets, I was thankful. My heart was full. My tears had dried. My mind was clear. My thoughts were positive. Because in the darkness of night, I realize how very blessed I am to enjoy and love the one God gave me to spend my remaining days with. My children may grow up and leave, but he remains. The seasons may change, but there is still beauty in all my todays. The dependence on me may lessen, but the need for a momma’s love and affirmation will never diminish.
Just as it says in Ecclesiastes 3 – Yet God made everything beautiful for its own time…..people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end….there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.
And Psalm 37 says this – The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Thought they s tumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread….their children are a blessing.