I can hardly see straight. Perhaps you can relate?
With the school year ending and all activities wrapping up, our nights this week are an endless run of celebrations and culminating experiences that, while fun, have layered themselves one on top another, in a way that has us running, smiling, pushing through with the simple goal of reaching the other side.
Which is not what I want at all.
If there is anything to be learned from living life with a 18 year old, it is that one does not want to simply tolerate these moments… because the moments will surely end.
Yep, I know. Cliche momma message.
Except the thing is that sometimes, tucked into the very heart of a cliche, is a tiny nugget of truth. It is easy to miss as we summarily brush off the familiarity of the phrase.
I do not want to do that… It may leave me with regrets. As I watch my four babies grow, it seems the seasons pass with greater speed and there is no way to go back and embrace that part that went too quickly by.
I remember when Benjamin was a baby and we were enjoying a special Saturday morning breakfast at a local restaurant. Every time the waitress would come to our table to ask a question or bring us food, his whole face would light up. I remember thinking, as we sat there, that a baby’s toothless smile is such a precious thing. I remember telling myself that we would see this look on him for just a minute…
And it was true.
Because soon after, his baby teeth burst through and we reveled at the wonder that his smile became.
And then, they got wiggly, those tiny baby teeth, and one by one they fell out and were traded for cash money in the middle of the night. And every single time he smiled with that “window” in his mouth, I remembered that gummy, baby grin. Mommas can’t help it sometimes.
Since then, we have wrapped his teeth in braces, had the braces removed and find ourselves smiling and laughing with our straight-toothed teenage boy.
But, as I sit here today, alone in my house while the kids are at school, all those little moments fall upon me and are mine to keep. Benjamin is now 16 and I can see where my daily memories with him will end and I know full well that I want to grab hold of and embrace every little glimpse of him while I can.
Because, mommas… this is not forever.
It may feel like it sometimes. But do not be fooled.
So, here we are, slogging through May. Everything in us may yearn for whatever the next thing is… Summer is coming after all. And in the midst of so much busyness, we may yearn for those free-form days.
So much parenting is missed in the leaning toward what is next.
Let’s not do that, today.
Today, let’s take a mental snapshot of our kids as they are right now. Today, even as we run to baseball and soccer and band concerts and celebrations, let’s take a deep breath and focus hard on what is happening right before our eyes.
Here is some of what I see:
-Noah digging deep for his last track invitational and beating the student who has challenged him for the past four years. The look on his face was triumphant as he crossed that line, fatigued and hurting, but successful!
-Benjamin stretching his comfort zone outside the familiar territory of athletics and theater and agreeing to sing in front of his whole high school with two other sophomore guys. About faith, no less… as his momma wiped her eyes from a seat in the very back row.
-Josiah walking confidently onto the middle school stage to participate in the play after years of watching his brothers do the same He spread his sixth grade wings up there, finding joy in playing a villain, an alter-ego he did not know he had.
-Elizabeth sitting down at her piano recital and perfectly performing a piece she has wrestled with for months. She floated on air as she walked back to her seat, a glowing grin on her face as the evening sun lit her dark brown hair.
Beautiful, powerful, seconds, that I do not want to miss.
Yes, we are tired friends. And we are yearning for the break ahead. It’s okay to be weary but when we are done, what we choose to do and to see in the midst of our fatigue will make a lasting impression not only on those we love best, but also upon ourselves.
It is May.
And I don’t want to look away.
Blessings on your day.