I loathe people telling me how big my kids are getting. I say that half-joking. Yet, I said it to a mom today. Because it's true! Kids grow.
But the reminder, the exclamation of surprise rings more soundly in my soul than even I realize. A gong. Time is ticking. Resonating with what I know to be true but try to ignore. The days are limited.
And so I fill the calendar. Let us do all the things, all the days. The beach. Butterfly garden. Hiking. Let me not miss a moment, any moment, of this fleeting sweetness. Take in all the snuggles. All the conversations with my two-year-old, of which I only understand half of. Treasure the hard days, because some day (soon) you'll miss them. Squeeze the squishiness extra hard today, because with each summer day, the little boy is slimming out, growing up, and things that used to make him laugh now make he think and the smile is already fading.
Motherhood isn't for the faint of heart. And days like today, when the sun is shining and the birds are out and we ran until we could run no more at the local nature park, we came home for baths and naps, and as I tucked two very tired littles into their beds, I thought, "I'm exhausted, and yet I never want this to end."
This. What's this? The hard hard days with a toddler and 3-month-old. The days when I'm at the end of myself, asking with open hands of more grace, more patience, more forgiveness. Yet, I know that this is right where I'm supposed to be. On my knees. Looking in the freezer for that hidden pint of ice cream. Just kidding. On my knees asking for what's been promised. Asking for the strength to hang on to this day, to not let it slip, to not miss any moment, to finish the race without regrets.
But in that frenzy of trying to bottle up this moment, I find that I cage myself. Fear keeps me contained. Fear of missing the Now tomorrow. Fear of these memories fading. Fear of the day when he no longer reaches for my hand or stops his world to lay down and watch a spiky caterpillar.
I'm writing this from my kitchen table with tears while they sleep. The fear is real. We're usually too busy for me to focus on it, but if I stop and reflect as I move another set of clothes into the "too small" bin, it's overwhelming. These hard days are beautiful. And my mama heart just can't take any more first day of school/last day of school photo of friends' kids in my Facebook feed, because one day next year, that'll be us.
So after I've had my cry and watched them on the camera monitors for a few moments (that park really knocked them out), truth settles. They were made to grow. My role as a mama is to rejoice with each new skill learned, each new word/phrase correctly pronounced. To not hang out to what was. To not focus on the reality that I probably won't ever hear him say, "Fox, where it is?" because he's learned proper sentence structure. They weren't made to be little always.
And I wasn't made to always mama littles, even though this feels like my world right now. There are far more things ahead than what we leave behind. Nothing is lost. The conversations will turn from ants to relationships. Instead of working out how to hook his Mater car up to other cars, we'll work through life problems. And as they grow, I'm growing. I'm learning to trust, to rest in Christ. To hold out my tomorrow with open hands and ask for grace. Always asking for more grace.
And this desire for permanence that I feel in my heart, that aches in my heart, is just a longing for the permanence of heaven. It'll come. But I won't find it in my toddler and squeezing him all the tighter won't insure it. It's not meant for now.
I can trust in His design. Rest in the seasons. The flowers won't keep either. But they'll be back. Different next year. But just as beautiful. May my lips be full of gratitude for today. May be heart be full of courage for tomorrow. May I rest in His design and rejoice with each passing birthday and milestone and before/after photos at the end of May for this is how it is meant to be.