Most days as I navigate this journey of motherhood, I feel a bit like a clumsy hiker, bulldozing her way through the forest making a terrific racket as she goes, and yet, miraculously, still stumbling into a clearing and coming face to face with a deer. It is moments like this that catch you off guard, pull you up short, and remind you to tread softly in this season of life. I wrote this entry in my journal a while ago, but thought I would share it in this space as a reminder that this time with our kids, in this season is holy ground. Not just on holidays or birthday or those one or two special outings a year where no one fought or threw up. But even in the mundane daily, where the days are long and filled with peanut butter, laundry, dog hair and squabbles, and the nights are short, beds are shared, and you've broken up with sleep. You may feel like I do, that you're barely keeping your head above the water, and yet, even here, in what seems like a jumbled messy fray, there is holiness woven in for those who slow down and look for it.
Tonight Tobin prayed, "Jesus, thank you for letting me see a shooting star tonight and I pray that someday I would be able to hear the stars sing."
I wanted to write this down so I wouldn't forget. He is already eight, growing up before my eyes, a little every day, and most days I don't even realize how much he has changed. And then suddenly I notice his hands from a different angle or watch the back of his long, strong legs push and lift the pedals on his bike and realize, where did my baby go? These days all blur together and I can be in such a rushed multitasking zone: wash up from dinner, get the baby in the bath, warm the milk, and shimmy pajamas on the toddler. Bark at the eight year old to clean up the whirl wind of shirts, socks, superhero underwear, stuffed animals, and Legos. Slip the baby under the covers, pray over her, sing our song, and fly from her room before she has time to cry in protest. Then it's herding the two boys into the bathroom to brush teeth and trying not to snap at the eldest spraying toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror, or the four year old who wriggles and flops while I combat cavities. When we emerge from the bathroom I'm on the home stretch, and already dreaming about tea and putting my feet up. But first there is library books, a Bible story and prayer, then goodnight kisses, water bottles delivered and an audio story set up.
Our routine can be long and I get easily frazzled. I don't like the mom I am, always roughly multitasking my way through the day so that I can get to that evening quiet (me) time. And then Tobin prays a prayer like that, and I can almost feel physical breaks screeching in my soul, begging my body to slow down and pay attention. To look into my child's eyes and be present.
Just before we brushed teeth he had been outside (not picking up) star gazing and beckoned me to join him. It took pausing the task propelled train, choosing to be quiet instead of cranky over disregarded chores, and fully present for just a few moments. In those brief moments of letting go of what I thought was more important, it felt like a big knot of frustration was finally being loosened. In sharing the excitement about the comet spotted, I remembered that first time when I was a child, looking up at the stars and all of a sudden really seeing them and getting that homesick ache in my chest that thrilled me. I wanted to go be with God and see how He looked at the stars. I wanted to hear them sing, and wondered just like Tobin tonight, "What do you think they're singing?" Suddenly, the messy house seemed so minute in the grand scheme of things. Jesus's gentle reminder to Martha stirred in my mind, " You are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10: -41-42
It's just so easy in the thick of these little years, where my small children are dependent on me for so much, to get overwhelmed and go into cruise control mode and just get through each day. But when this season ends, and it will end, sooner than I want it to, I don't want to tumble out the other side of it with just blurry vague memories. I want to be present. I want to slow down and fully realize these milestone moments. I want to have eyes wide open to the presence of God in my home, in these little souls He has asked me to raise. I don't want to forget that today, Freyja told me, "Dove doo" for the first time in her beautiful little voice. Or the look of pride and joy on Julian's face when he wrote the number two all by himself and showed Grandpa how he could balance on his bike. I don't want to forget Tobin experiencing that homesick longing for home with Jesus and really seeing the stars for the first time.