For the first few years of the boys' life, I felt so aware, all the time, of the value of my days with them.
It seemed as tho they were slipping away, faster than I could hold onto them.
I knew our fall afternoon walks and listening to their throaty giggles, rocking and snuggling, holding and loving while they had such baby feet wouldn't last forever.
Every moment was precious.
I'm trying to figure out how to capture that again.
It's not that I don't still recognize that, or feel the same way, but life has a much busier pace now than it did then.
The plate is fuller and there is so much to do -- a plate with responsibilities and needs and demands that are only going to continue to grow.
I fight within myself to recognize the value of a moment.
To take the time out from my neurotic need to have things orderly to sit down and disregard the kitchen or whatever else might be waiting and play a game.
Read a story.
Have a conversation that's meaningful.
Rub a back.
Really try to listen.
Put myself in their play and feel the simple delight
of childhood and the imagination that thrives there.
Singing songs at bedtime.
It's a deep privilege to be their mother.
I think about that all the time.
But I don't always pause on that to let it sink in and let me be more gentle and patient when I need to be, or recognize the need to take advantage of these priceless moments. That seemed to happen effortlessly when they were smaller.
A couple weeks ago as I worked on a project for my boys, I was looking back through all the photos of their lives, beginning at birth.
I saw their birthdays, ice cream cones in diapers, dripping down their cheeks. I looked at so many pictures of our walks and different times of the year, documented by snowfall or spring blossoms or leaves littering the ground.
I found them again in the kitchen, into the pots and pans and cups and spoons, smacking them together and thriving. I saw when I first buzzed their heads. I looked thru family vacation pictures, Christmas celebrating, and their general goofiness.
It was one of those moments when that powerful, sweeping surge of emotion fills you; you know what happened there, what they were doing, those certain expressions they had.
Last night I was making the rounds to each of their rooms before I went to bed. I tuck blankets over them again and kiss their cheeks.
My boys are boys now -- not little guys.
They smell like boys.
They're busy and active and loud and full of life.
And then I looked at this little girl.
I don't think of her as a baby anymore, tho I did for a long time.
She could be 30, for how much she pretends and lives in her own adult life.
She has opinions and she's stubborn.
I constantly hear about her own mothering to her children, how they're being naughty or how she disciplined them or what she's making for dinner.
She insists on taking her purse with her everywhere.
Her language is peppered with big words.
But I forget about her as my little babe -- just like my boys.
It happens so quickly.
As I was tucking her blanket around her one last time, I sat on her bed and nestled my face into hers. Her cheeks were warm and I kissed them again and again.
I smelled that little person smell and I loved her round skin.
And I remembered that baby that I'd forgotten.
The joy of slowing down.
Realizing what is happening amid all the craziness.
Feeling so grateful to God for a small, simple, defining moment; a moment that defines the glory in my work.