I remember it like it was yesterday. It was an exciting time in our ministry. It was an exciting time in our marriage. We'd finally 'come back home' officially from being off the road. This little boy that was growing inside me had been moving and growing and rolling around. You could finally actually see my stomach move. At the risk of sounding romantic, it was magical.
And I can remember thinking to myself one of those nights, "The next time I watch the summer Olympics, he will be almost four." I'm sure I cried.
You see, I've always known the time would fly. Maybe it is a blessing, I've tried to soak up every moment. Maybe it's a curse, I'm always distinctly aware time is fleeting. But when that sweet little boy, who is now 'almost 8', was curled up against me and concluded my story with, "The next time we watch the summer Olympics, I will be almost 12," my heart swelled into my throat, and I had to fight back the tears.
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
There have been a lot of tears lately, if I'm honest. My youngest is about to be off to kindergarten, my oldest is going into second grade, and I have never been a mom who has counted down the days until school starting. Quite the contrary... I'll need a box of Kleenex and a quiet place to sob when the first day comes around. In the last few years, the honest me would say that I miss the ages of my children several years ago. Four and two... I loved everything about that time in our lives.
I loved playdates and homemade projects. I loved blowing bubbles and park visits. I loved afternoon naptime when I could finally 'get something done'. Then I loved realizing that my favorite thing to get done was just being 'mom.' I loved the sweet little way they mis-spoke words and holding them close when words or things hurt.
And though I've never been a 'wish it away' type mom, it's taken these recent tears for me to realize what I have become. I've become a "wish for what was" mother.
Lord forbid I miss today because I'm digging in my heels to slow it down. What highs will I hurt through allowing the shadow of things that once were to steal today's sunshine? In five years, if I realize how sweet this phase was, but I missed it because I was dwelling on the one that came before, I'm no better off than having wished it away to begin with.
Will I cry on the first day of school? You betcha I will. It's a new milestone. Every moment of the last eight years was based on my being home with our babies until they both started school. Change is hard sometimes. Sometimes it's a good hard, but hard still hurts.
Do I miss my babies being babies? Of course I do, but how thankful I am for all of the sweet memories I have and for healthy growing kiddos.
What I will not do, however, is get so caught up in yesterday that I miss today. I will love this phase. I will love the little cackle laugh from A as you tickle her armpits. I will love B's perseverance and will to try, try, and try again. I will love the fact that they are still small enough (barely) for me to pick up and hold in my arms. I will love that Ans still tells me I look beautiful and that she loves me, for no reason at all. I will love that B still wants to have family time. I will love this place in life, our here and now, in all of what seems imperfect, that I've learned well enough to know I will at some point miss desperately.
Sure - my heart hurts. The page turns. Life continues. But there are good pages to come... sweet pages. It's time to stop rereading the beginning of the story and continue on with the rest of the book.