Many of you know my dear friend Sarah who is getting ready to have a baby any day now. For those of you who haven’t had the privilege yet, visit her blog, you will leave with a smile on your face and joy in your heart from just meeting a genuinely beautiful person! I am so excited for her and her family!
The waiting and wonder has made me stop and reminisce about my own days waiting to meet the person I had carried around for nine months; the person my heart knew, but my eyes had not yet seen. I catch myself looking back over the lives of my children and I feel so incredibly blessed.
I can’t say that I have a perfect stage, one I loved the most. I have enjoyed the entire journey. I admit it was love at first sight with each of my children. Tiny feet and little hands so small and perfectly formed. It is hard to imagine that the hand that holds mine now once wrapped its entirety around a single finger. I relished in the days of baby smells and soft gurgles from pink lips. Nuzzling my nose in the soft folds of skin, rocking gently to music only my heart could hear. Those days were beautiful, but they weren’t perfect. They were a time of growth for both baby and mother. I remember the fear and trepidation, the worried prayers in the middle of the night, and the constant strain of wondering if I was doing it all right. Through these days I learned to rely on God and to turn to the greatest mother of all, Our Blessed Mother. What a role model to look to in times of need each day. Through it all I learned to slow down, to relish the quiet moments during the day, and to pray unceasingly.
Those baby days quickly flowed into days of early childhood. I loved that each day seemed to hold a sense of wonder! God’s world was an amazing playground! Bouquets of dandelions, pockets filled with rocks, dirt smudged faces beaming with discovery. I looked forward to afternoons on the couch with little ones snuggled in the crook of my arms as we read stacks of books. As my children grew, so did I, but not as one would expect. I grew in reverse. I learned to take my shoes off and squish my toes in the sand, I learned to reach out my hand and touch the bark of a tree, and I learned to look at the intricate designs of a wildflower. I grew to appreciate the wonder of God and to see God in all things. I became a child again in my heart.
The school days were an adventure. The excitement of learning new things, the challenge of teaching subjects I had studied long ago or some never before, the constant nagging of my own mind telling myself I was leaving gaps. I truly believed God had called me to homeschool, but that did not mean it was going to be painless or perfect. I had to grow just like my children. I needed to grow in faith and trust. I needed to learn patience and understanding. What I learned was to listen with my heart. I look back on those days of eager faces and unending excitement and wish sometimes I wouldn’t have forgotten some of the earlier lessons of slowing down and appreciating the wonder of it all, instead of giving in to worry. I learned that though I was far from perfect in my teaching, God filled the gaps. I have watched my children bloom, not from anything I set out to do, but because God used me to carry out His plan.
So here I am today, smack dab in the teenage years and I love it. I enjoy the deep conversations, the competition of a good strategy game, the baring of vulnerable hearts still growing. I relish the strength in a hug followed by the smell of scented lotion or after-shave. I smile at the valiant attempts to love me the way I have loved them. I cherish the moments now filled with activities and chatter. I am challenged each day to trust in God more and to leave more to Him, to let go. I have come to the realization that it is our children’s presence in our lives that God gives us; our children still belong to God.
So, from a mom who finds herself suddenly on the other end of the child days, I leave you one thing. Cherish the moments, the time that surrounds that tiny miracle, the time where hearts are joined. The other stuff is truly just stuff.