It really does not take a genius to recognize how brief life is. But, it might just take a mother.
From the brief night’s rest we get to the amount of time it takes for a piping hot cup of coffee to grow cold before we take a third sip and then microwave it yet again– time is moving rapidly.
We see it so clearly in their clothes. Pants that swallowed them in August by early March are capri length and bordering on too tight. The bathing suits they wore last summer which still carry the scent of salt water and fresh air– will lay in the hand me down box until several summers have passed and they are needed again. Seems like a long time from now. Can’t imagine them that grown. Except that the dress little sister wears today.. quite certainly just graced the older one’s 2 year old frame… except now she’s almost five and writes her own name. I struggle to get the winter things ready to come out of their closets… and yet I feel as though I just put them in. But they have been worn. Worn well and kept little arms and legs toasty warm through many a cool day. And now it’s time to pack them up… I remove each shirt, each pair of pants and I wonder… how many times was this worn over the past several months? I wonder if they had fun while wearing them. More importantly, did they notice ME having fun WITH them then? Was I chasing them through the leaves and over the bare grassless yard– or was I watching the clock and wondering if we had stayed outside long enough, because well it’s almost time to get dinner started.
And the shoes, Oh the shoes! Two little girls sure go through a pile of shoes at an alarming rate. Their little feet which have almost too much room in a pair of boots can barely squeeze in one for more day of cool weather. I’m not nearly as concerned about the affect of all this change on our bank account as I am its affect on my heart. Oh, some days this mama’s heart wants so badly to keep them little. I want them to always be small enough to fit completely in my lap.. but already her legs grow long and lanky and almost touch the floor. I want to always be able to stick my head around the corner and see them rolling around and “dog-piling” each other and collapsing into contagious giggles… (until somebody accidentally pulls someone else’s hair– then it’s ON.) I want to remember what their little hands feel like in mine… soft and sweet and pink. It was my own mother who caused me to stop and realize how perfectly sweet their little hands still were. She made a comment about how my own hands were just that way (like five minutes ago) and it struck me– she knows. She knows the joy (and pain) of watching the minutes fly around the clock as you fold up too- little dresses that you swore you bought plenty roomy enough.
Sometimes I’m caught off guard by the rapid pace their little-ness is flying by and I feel it.
That feeling. You know the one, you get a lump in your throat.. a little extra moisture on your palms and you…panic. Maybe just a little– but it’s still anxiety. Worry if you’re doing enough. Are they learning to love God? Do they even REALLY know that I love them? Do they see me reading God’s Word half as much as they catch me reading my twitter feed?
I realize sometimes in the quiet hours of the evening. Hours of reflection, exhaustion, exhaling and regret, maybe? Just a little? A smidge of regret that maybe I spent too much time today on things that didn’t communicate that they are a precious priority. Sometimes it causes me to tip-toe into their rooms, stand by their beds– watch their little chests move up and down for a minute or two. Search their enchanting faces for traces of my tiny babies. Sometimes I find them quickly. Other times I have to search and then I see them. Not so much signs of yesterday but glimpses of tomorrow– when they will be just a tad bit older.
But God is so gracious. And He gives us an entire day at a time. What a gift! And what a responsibility. And a day is both never enough and always just the right amount of time. Time to love them. Time to tell them HE loves them. Time to for goodness sake- teach them to LOVE others. Time to take time looking into their eyes. Listening to their stories. Sitting in the middle of a kitchen floor that desperately needs to be swept just because I know they will both come running and plant their little selves on my lap. If only for a moment. For that moment (and for this one) I am happy to sit amongst the crumbs and be close enough to see the sparkle in their eyes. To read that book even though it’s the long one. To pack up those winter clothes and thank HIM for every day we have had one another. After all, we only get today. And hopefully, tomorrow.