My “babies” will be another year older in just a few days. Yep, both kids share the same birthday month!
I can’t say I wasn’t warned. I was. But must they grow this fast?
It really wasn’t that long ago that a very young couple brought home a miraculous little bundle of wonder, all glorious and warm. And it was almost yesterday when an undeserving little family of three was gifted with a big brown-eyed delicate princess, straight from God.
Time melts away so much faster than I could have ever expected. The days are long. But the years…they slip by without notice.
Each year around my kids’ birthdays guilt takes me on her oh so familiar trip, pointing her finger and accusing me of what I already know all too well.
I stuck the kids in front of the TV screen too much. I impatiently yelled at them and lost my temper. When I did “play with the kids” I did so absentmindedly while focusing on a little screen in front of my face. When little ones came to show me their thoughtful creations I nodded and complimented, hardly glancing at their handiwork. Instead of understanding their frustrations and fears, I patted their heads and flatly declared that monsters did not exist. Rather than rejoicing in their accomplishments, I decided it was about time they had learned that already. I nodded distractedly and reminded them not to interrupt my radio program, instead of listening attentively to their imaginary adventures.
And so I carelessly let another year of their childhood slip through my fingers.
I work myself up with questions. Why wasn’t I a better mommy this year? Why didn’t I just bask in the happiness of my children’s very existence? Why didn’t I soak up and treasure each and every moment I had with them? Why didn’t I live IN the moment? Why didn’t I put them first? Why didn’t I cherish this precious year?
After pushing my poor choices and the Kleenex box aside, I realize why I fall into this trap every year.
It’s because the days are long. And because they are long, I like to hurry them along.
Each day certainly has its joys but I have to admit it is also tiresome, hard, messy, and ugly. The kids fight, tease, scream, puke, cry, disobey, whine and pitch fits. Toys clutter all corners of the house. Laundry piles soar to new heights. There are hungry bellies to be satisfied, minds to be opened, characters to be developd, appointments to be scheduled, and bills to be paid.
After a long day, I’m short on smiles and patience. All I really want to do is to hurry up the day and get it over with.
And it’s in my hurrying that I think I’ve found my problem.
I’ve let the hurried American culture seep into my home and influence my every move. Without realizing it, I hurry my kids with everything they do.
Hurry up and…
eat your food.
put on your shoes.
go to bed.
do your chores.
get in the car.
finish your schoolwork.
clean your room.
Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!
And maybe that’s why the years slip by so quickly…
I’ve hurried the days along and didn’t notice how fast they were going until an entire year had passed me by yet again.
In fact, I’m hurrying my children right out of their childhood, the very thing I am trying to hold on to.
In my online writing class this week, something Lysa Terkeurst shared really stood out to me.
She gave an illustration from Proverbs 24:30-34. “I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of a man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”
The key here is that the man applies his heart to what he observes and learns a lesson from what he sees. In developing good writing habits, Lysa revealed that, “Great writers are great noticers of life.”
I think that statement rings true for so many other aspects of life as well, including motherhood.
I think you can say, “Great moms are great noticers of life.”
I want to be a great noticer of my children’s lives.
I want to change my hurried ways. I don’t want to continue to unknowingly pass by these childhood years. I’ve already missed too much.
I hope this next year to purposefully and willfully stop, breathe, and take notice of all the little moments.
I don’t want to miss anymore leg hugs, “Mommy’s home” squeals, kisses, giggles, or prayers. I don’t want to take these years for granted. I know I won’t get them back. These are the years that are the most precious to me and I want to savor each moment before my kids grow up and leave home.
I love these verses that remind me of how short life is and my need to be still.
“Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but VAPOR.” Psalm 39:5
“Be STILL and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
By slowing down and taking notice of life, I wonder if I will find that I’ve been missing out on even more than I realized.
Afterall, in 1 Kings 19 the Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire but in a still small voice.
So in addition, I’ve likely been missing out on God’s messages to me. Probably messages like, “You need to slow down and be still!”
But, thankfully, our God is the God of second chances.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23
Are you a great noticer of life or do you struggle with the urge to hurry? If you’ve uncovered the art noticing life do you have tips or suggestions on how to slow down and savor everyday moments?