This weekend, I finished going through the last few remnants of things I needed to organize in my office since we moved into this house almost 2 months ago. After a hectic spring, summer time is serving as my new year – a time to reset, refocus and get back some sense of order that I seemed to have lost over the last couple of years in what we have started calling “The Transition”. I’m working on moving towards a paperless office. I’m not quite there yet… but I made a lot of progress this weekend. I scanned a bunch of documents in and shredded the hard copies. (Talk about feeling a little more free! I have a ton of new folders and hanging file folders I’ve kept through the various years and locations because “I might need them” all ready to put in the yard sale we’re having in a couple of weeks…)
While I was going through the last little bits of “stuff” – I found several photo CDs I’d had made from WalMart. (Remember the days where you actually took pictures on FILM, and THEN you paid extra for a photo developer to put them on CD so you could have them on your computer too? Crazy to think about now, huh? )
The pictures were all from about 8 to 10 years ago. Photos of both my college graduation and Cliff’s college graduation. Family pics. Reminders of my really varied (and really bad) hairstyles around that time. (Short, orange-red hair… hmmm… not as cool looking as I thought it was back then.)
But then I ran across a few like this one.
I still remember the first time he ever giggled, the way he loved to wrap my hair around his fingers as he fell asleep after bath time in the rocking chair, and how much he loved Veggie Tales.
It’s hard to believe that this is the same little boy who just finished 5th grade last week and is headed to middle school in just a short couple of months. I just picked up his report card on Friday. His last one of elementary school. And that’s when it hit me. He’s not so little anymore.
This is the kid who can make his bed, keep his room straight and (usually) do his homework without being told. He’s the same kid who just the other night left both my husband and I speechless when he stood up from the dinner table, picked up all of our plates, walked over to the sink and started loading the dishwasher. Then looked at us both and said “I got this, you two kids have fun.” This is the same kid who has loads of compassion for other people and such a sense of right and wrong that he will either be a pastor or a policeman when he grows up.
I wish I could say I looked at that first photo this past weekend with nothing but joy. But there were some regrets there too. Regrets that I wasn’t always in the moment. That a lot of times, I was focused on the next big thing. The next accomplishment that would move my career along, the next article to write or event to cover. I think I’ve learned over the last couple of years to be able to change that thought pattern. And I know my family is better for it.
But time doesn’t stand still. And they grow up, whether we’re ready for it or not.
If you’re chasing after a little one today, would you mind if I just gently offer some perspective from this side of the dirty diapers, spit-up soaked onesies and occasional temper tantrums?
Eventually they do get potty-trained.
They eat by themselves.
They learn to have normal (and even fun) conversations with you.
And you have the privilege of being there to see it all. To experience it all.
You have the blessing of being mom.
This past week, we were down for the count with flu of all things. Caleb came down with fever on Sunday night and missed the last two days of his 5th grade year. It was a rough week. I was giving him medicine every three hours, taking his temperature, making sure he was comfortable. Getting him to drink Gatorade when he couldn’t keep anything else down.
I was worn out.
I managed to steal away a couple of minutes in my room and had to stifle a groan when I heard him call “Moooommm” just a couple of minutes after I’d sank down on my bed.
I braced myself, ready to do whatever he needed, as I walked into the living room to see what he wanted.
He looked at me pitifully from his spot on the couch.
“I just needed to see your face, Mom.”
Which made me start thinking. What kind of face does he see most of the time? Kind, happy, peaceful, encouraging? Or upset, fussing, or critical?
I hope he sees the former more than the latter.
I once had a young mom of two small children ask me how she could have a ministry, when she had to be at home so much with her little boys.
I got to tell her that she already did have a ministry. And it started with those two small boys.
What we say to our children, what we do with our children, makes an enormous difference.
Don’t waste the opportunity.