It was 6:15 when I heard toddler feet hit the floor, a small hand slide the door open, and a little voice break the silence, “Mama?”
Andrew was out for a run so there was zero chance of successfully ignoring our early riser. A few tip toes into the hall and a swift pick up, I pulled him into bed with me and tried to snuggle him back to sleep; but being in such a huge bed is too exhilarating when you’re knee-high. So we talked and tickled and played before the day started – a far cry from the usual, hangry demands for breakfast or terrifying announcements that someone’s Pull Up leaked. This was bliss.
Gift Giving is one of my love languages (I think they all are…). With Mother’s Day on the horizon, I got a little giddy over what I might receive: I’ve been holding onto a childhood dream of a hammock, I’d love an outdoor clock for the deck, chocolate covered strawberries, roses to plant,
or and time all alone in my house to attack a few projects.
But laying with our 2 year old, my list shortened.
Because I won’t always have both the way I do now.
Last week the fellas were playing on the living room rug and I put a blanket out to give our baby girl some tummy time with them. Sitting back on the couch, I marveled at each one. Our 5 year old is a budding pianist and an obvious introvert who prizes the solitude of his top bunk; our 3 year old is a character as bright as his carrot top and a genuine baby whisperer; the 2 year old is a clumsy puppy and a copycat always chasing after his brothers; our daughter is nearly 6 months and the mildest bit of sweetness I’ve ever seen.
I won’t always have my little children near me, but I so want to be near them.
Taking a good look at what we’ve got made me want to parent in terms of the future – to love them right now in a way that draws them to us 20 and 30 years down the road. I picture a midday lunch with any one of them – asking how things are at home, at the office, in school, and listening to God’s plan slowly revealed in the details of their lives. I hope they know they can ask us for help. I hope they know we’ll be over the moon when they’re over the moon.
Such an openness and freedom in the future can and must be cultivated in the little years. If I hope they’ll come to us with their joys and sorrows as adults, then I should listen and validate what occupies their innocent minds now. I get so annoyed with repeated pleas to find lost toys, button buttons, and help the toddler buckle “by himself,” but this kind of trivia will amount to much more meaningful things when they’re older when they might feel lost in faith, need help learning how to cook for their families for the first time, or want to know I have their backs when faced with the hard in life.
I want them to understand as well as they can how much I delight in them and what treasures they are to Andrew and me. Offering our undivided attention and a generosity of heart will convey that they’ll have us to lean on when life’s crosses weigh heavily, which they’re bound to do. I wish it were as easy to do all this as it is to say it, but I have to keep starting over. Keep going.
Motherhood is a gift I take for granted. It’s easier to focus marriage as my means of salvation (which it is) that I forget that growing children in the Light of the Son is as well; how I speak to them, how I receive them, how I discipline and praise and guide will ultimately serve both of us as long as it’s rooted in and directed to the love of Christ. I pray God blesses me with the humility to serve and cherish my children as He does.