“You left this morning for work having four kids and you returned home having the same four kids and a little extra bonus to the day, I took a shower. So all in all, it was a good day.” I said with a wink in my eye.
This was my typical response to David when he came home from work asking how my day went when our kids were little and I was home with them.
If I ran into my friends with older children while running errands they would tell me, “Cherish these days, Jill. They go by so fast! You blink and they are gone!”
I would smile and nod as I was trying to keep my kids with me. It was like herding cats! In my head, though, I was picturing myself (jokingly) blinking my eyes over and over again.
Fast?!? Are you kidding me?! My life reminded me of a story about my friends Craig and Michele. They were on the “Small World” ride in Disney World and it broke down. There they were stuck in a boat for over 30 minutes with the music “It’s a Small World After All” continuously playing in their ears. (Honestly, I shutter just thinking about it; my poor friends!!) Yet that is how I felt. I was on a never ending ride of cleaning messes, diaper changes, breaking up fights, and laundry. How can such small people create so much laundry?
Only then after I walked away from these moms would I realize that one of my precious children wiped their face on my shirt. Seeing the food smeared (I hope it wasn’t a snotty nose!) across my shirt hem caused me to sigh and accept defeat that I had become ‘The Human Napkin’….again.
Then I blinked and it happened, my kids are now almost grown and my heart is longing to go back.
I miss chubby little fingers flipping pages of books, coloring book masterpieces that decorated our refrigerator or making elaborate forts in the living room with all our flat sheets and dining room chairs. I miss pretending the floor was lava and we placed couch cushions on the floor as we hopped from cushion to cushion to be ‘safe’. I miss the days of schedules and routines and having all my children home. I long for having the only thing on the docket of the day was to be home and taking care of my babies.
It truly did go by too fast.
This week my eldest is graduating from high school and will soon be heading off to college.
This past month I have been working on his scrapbook. It is hard to call an 18 year old’s scrapbook a baby book, so I am calling it his life book. I am the scrapbook mom that years go by of not working on it and then I do a blitzkrieg of scrapbooking. If you ever see his book, I ask for two things: don’t judge and don’t question. For all sense and purposes, he is the age/grade in that photo that I say he is. I made an executive call and who is going to debate his own mother?
As I look back at his life book, it is compilation of people investing in him. I see the time and energy of others pouring into him and now we all see the fruition of it as he graduates. We could not do this alone and I need to thank them.
Thank you to the nursery workers and Sunday School/Jr. Church teachers who gave up their worship time to hold or work with my child on Sundays. By your service he would come to know that others loved him and cared for him. There were Sundays where I sunk into my seat, worn to the bone and so depleted after a long week of caring for Sarah. It was my one moment of peace, sanity and time to worship and recharge. You got me through some very tough times. Thank you being an example of Christ to my child and to me.
Thank you two and three year old preschool teachers for reinforcing what we were trying to instruct at home; he, like our other kids, embraced those ‘terrible two’s’ with a passion, but you loved him through that phase and enjoyed him for all the wonder and excitement a two and three year old has for our world and God’s creation.
To those, who after a long day at work, ate a quick dinner (or maybe didn’t) and raced to church to work in our mid-week programs, thank you. He loved AWANA and Stockade. His leaders made a lasting impact on him. He memorized Scripture that still comes to his mind today. You gave him an invaluable gift of sharing God’s word with him and we are grateful!
Thank you to his school teachers for pouring themselves into him. We are so blessed by professionals who desired to help our son succeed. Jim attended both private and public schools during his school years and we are so thankful and blessed by the quality in our educators in both settings! We could never give you enough thanks and respect for all you do! Jim has received an excellent education.
Thank you to our awesome youth group that challenges him, makes his faith his own and teaches him to serve others. His small group leaders made him accountable, to feel free to ask questions, share his struggles and to find ‘a band of brothers’ in his peers to do life with. He has had a great experience in youth group and we are so deeply thankful.
Thank you coaches for teaching my son the lifelong lesson of being a team player and about good sportsmanship in the various sports he played. He has had some great coaches, he has had horrific ones. Through it all, Jim has learned perseverance, dedication, a love for the game, what it means to play on a team and to do your best, win or lose.
I can’t believe I blinked.
Recently I saw two wooden signs that were next to each other in a store. One read, “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” The other said, “Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10” I thought that was fitting for my life right now. This is a new stage in our lives and while I want to go back to the days of being a Human Napkin (I can’t believe I am saying that!), God has something exciting and new on the horizon. I am just going to be still and know Him in this new phase and try my best not to blink.