I’ve heard it my entire life…. “The older you get the faster time passes.” Who can testify to the truth of that statement? But I have just a small stipulation to add —the older your kids get the faster time passes.
I’m just not ready to lay claim to aging. I mean I’m only thirty-four. Regardless, life is on fast forward (or that button you hit on your DVR remote to skip forward ten seconds at a time). I mean, didn’t we just have Christmas? We’ve already made it more than halfway through 2015 and our children are headed back-to-school!
Let me confess, this school year was more difficult than ones before. At the conclusion of the 2014-2015 school year, we stood in the kitchen, all six of us shuffling around one another as we unloaded the dishwasher, filled it again, and dished up our evening dinner. In an effort to digest the fact that our baby wasn’t a baby anymore, I posed a question to my husband, “Babe, can you believe we have a kindergartener in our house now?! Not a PreKer, but a kindergartner?!” Our daughter interjected, “And a high schooler.” I corrected, “No. No. We don’t have a high schooler,” incredibly serious, as there was no way we ourselves were old enough to have a child in high school. She insisted, “Yes, Mom. I’m going to be a freshman. That’s high school.” [Insert mom’s heart sinking into my lower intestine here.]
You see, I longed for and desired my children since I was a child. I vividly remember lying in my intensive care unit bed thinking about my future. Before our accident I frequented my Grandma’s dining room and draped her lace curtains over my face pretending to get married. An eighty-seven percent burn injury makes marriage seem like even more of a fantasy to a small child. So when this story started trending toward the fairytale I had abandoned so many years before, my desire for the children I thought I’d never have escalated.
I was more than ready to become a mom when my little Brooklyn Nicole arrived on the scene three weeks before my twentieth birthday. I felt like I had waited for her my entire life, and the first true breath that had ever fully filled my lungs was the one I took in of her and her precious life. I breathed even deeper with the arrival of my baby boys, Jaron Michael, Caden Robert and Gavin Lee.
Being their mom is and has been the most meaningful moments of my life.
And that’s where we want to put things in slow motion, but rather than having the amenity of slowing things down, it only passes all the more quickly when they arrive. Most of the time, we’re juggling the day’s duties, and before we know it we’re into the next. Rarely do we experience a full night’s rest after the birth of our children, and I’m not just referring to the season that they’re little. No, they grow as we tackle everything with them in the daylight hours. Then in the night, in the quiet stillness while they sleep, we continue on. But we acclimate, don’t we? We adjust to late nights and early mornings until it becomes normal. It is there I ask myself, “Man. If it went this fast, how fast would it have gone if I would have slept?” [We’re making inserts into this post—so insert a winky face here].
Well, I assume it would have passed all the more quickly. So here we are, in a brand new season. For the first time in fourteen and a half years, all of my children are in school all day. That’s enough to bring a tear, isn’t it? I hope so, because I’m telling you, I didn’t think I’d really cry on the outside, maybe feel it a little in my heart, but no, I totally did. I barely got out the door. I mall-walked it to my car after dropping off the last child. I’m not talking a little teary-eyed either. No, I’m talking lip-quivering kind of crying. Who would have thought?! Not me. There are times I even surprise myself.
The last fourteen and a half years of having at least one child home with me for at least some part, if not all of the day has been my normal. Now, the season has changed and I’m settling into a new normal. Kissing all four of their faces as they exit the car in the morning, picking them up in the chaos of car rider line in the afternoon; and in the in-between, being brave, pursuing what God has called me to do with those hours He’s purposed for this time now.
There is so much in store; so much ahead that I can hardly stand to allow myself to shed a tear for what has been. But those were amazing chapters. My tears were more of a “thank you, God for letting me experience that,” than an “I’m so sad it’s over.”
We have many great things to come in our family. It will nevertheless, continue to change. It’s constantly going to be looking a little different. Most likely, I’ll cry again. I’m emotional like that. I’ll cry for what has been, for what will be and for the fact that God walks with me in the in-betweens.
Psalm 90:14 NLT
Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
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