On the precipice of becoming a mama to a teenager,
after returning from a visit with faraway friends working hard to escape a life of poverty,
missing my babies at home so much,
a short reprieve from a terrible fear,
witnessing the miraculous birth of my sweet god-daughter,
I’m acutely aware of how fast and how precious this life.
The snow this morning was a perfect excuse to call off going to classes, hunker down at home, intentionally kiss my husband goodbye on his way to work, have a slow breakfast while listening to the Bible and praying with each other. We tackled a family project, and got all the homeschool work done by noon, plus living room hockey and memory games. Warm tea and cocoa in our cups, I had time and the mindfulness to answer all the learning questions, hear all the stories and ideas, stay patient and kind with the regular frustrations, guiding my kids to do the same. There was one big spill and just a few whiny moments, but all in all it was a very good day. We went to piano lessons, ran birthday errands, dance class, then dinner. We talked, and laughed, and played, and worked. It was the most normal of days, full of nothing spectacular. It is one of my favorite days, in one of my favorite times. Here I am, mom to 4 I always longed to be.
It is hard to believe my baby girl will be 13 tomorrow. When I was finally pregnant with her after a year of miscarriages and failed pregnancy tests, I reveled in that time of growing her – as with all of my babies. I studied every bit of development, journaled all my feelings and hopes, worries and fears, and promises, especially for the adolescent years. The beginning of her life was the beginning of my most favorite endeavor. Being a mama fills me up and pours me out like nothing else. It’s the most challenging, gratifying, soul-filling, exhausting, never measuring-up or feeling complete work. They refine and make me more of who God created me to be every day. Much as my focus is ever on their development, needs, and care, it is me today who feels so deeply loved and provided for in being given these lives to love for eternity.
Slow down the days Lord.
Keep my babies close,
and feeling loved.
May I be the mama they need me to be, in the growing up and in the slowing down. May I get to breathe them in on hectic days and full times, through temper tantrums (theirs and mine), sibling squabbles and spilled milk, pausing to see Your glorious creation in each of their beautiful faces, most precious souls. I can barely write as my throat closes tight and tears stream down. These babies of mine are growing so fast, and who am I without them? Who will I be when they are all gone? Oh I have my work and my friends and my well-rounded life, but really, they with my husband are the very best of it. I cannot bear the thought of those goodbyes, much as I delight in every new stage and season of their lives. I can picture with future nostalgia large extended family dinners, new holidays traditions, regular visits, but oh my dear, it will be the final separating of address, no more shared hallways at bedtime, morning pitter pats that end up in sunrise snuggles, all of us piled in one car, around one table, in one heap of tickles day after day that has my heart bursting bittersweet gratitude for beautiful days that will never be lived twice.
So much about parenting is so hard. So much about juggling career and ministries and responsibilities and life is wrought with stress and burden. It is rarely as peace and gratitude filled as today, even so, I wish to hold onto it all, the good and the hard, just a little longer.
In their baby journals I would write “If only I had one of you for each day you have lived. Each day you are a new creation, the same of course and wholly different as you grow. I so dearly love you each day that the thought of never seeing you again as you are today is too painful to fathom – except for the excitement of who you will be tomorrow. I learn to let go of you every day and look to the next for the delight of discovering you again, and again. I love you my precious one.”