Friday, June 08, 2012

A Mother's Fragile Heart

As I type this, I am looking at the stack of registration forms for Nora for preschool.  And realize that they are filled out.  And that my BABY is headed to school for the first time in just a few short months.  How is that possible?  Doesn’t she still need her diapers changed and her crib to be baby-proofed?  Doesn’t she need help walking and to be spoon-fed?  My heart literally aches thinking about how quickly time is passing and that my babies are no longer babies.  There are days when I complain and whine about how clingy they are (we even penned the term “Klingons”), but sooner than a flash in the pan, they won’t need me anymore.  They won’t need mama to help them brush their teeth.  They won’t need mama to cuddle with them.  They won’t need mama to get their milk poured.  They won’t need mama to get them out of the bathtub.  Don’t get me wrong, most kids will always need their parents, in some form or another, but it’s a different kind of need.  “Mom, I need money”.  “Mom, I need to borrow the car”. “Mom, I need you to talk to Dad and get him calmed down so he doesn’t kill me.”  Those kinds of needs.

When I was in the hospital recovering from just having Nora, I will NEVER, as long as I live, forget what my Grandma Gaul told me.  She said, “Becky, make sure to stop and just enjoy these days because they are over before you can even blink.  And they really are the best years of your life. You might think you’re going to go mad from all of the chaos, but you’ll miss the noise when they’re gone.”  And I know there is a reason for God putting it on Grandma’s heart to tell me that.  Because ever since then, I have taken that to heart so deeply, that sometimes I wonder if this ache will ever go away.  The ache of watching my babies grow up and become independent.  The ache of knowing that things can change so incredibly quickly and life as we know it can change forever.  A dear friend of mine lost her daughter in a tragic accident a little over a year ago.  She would have turned 5 on June 5th – her golden birthday.  “V” was the same age as Nora.  And my heart is crushed knowing that Rhonda would give anything – ANYTHING – to live amidst the chaos of raising a 4-year old that I sometimes get overwhelmed with and complain about.  And it makes me just stop right where I am, and praise God in that moment, that He has given me this beautiful gift of a little girl but also makes me remember that He can take her back anytime He wishes.  I don’t worry about what the future holds (much!) I guess I just get a little heartsick when I think of how fast life is going and how quickly it changes.  I just want a “pause” button for life, right at this very moment, to relish the sweet chubby arms that put themselves around my neck to give me big hugs, to bottle the scent of my kids lying in their beds at night after a busy day of playing to open later in the years when I’m missing their presence, to record the still, small voice that says, “I love you more mama” just before I close his bedroom door at night to be played back someday when all I hear is the quietness of an empty home.  It’s in those little moments, when I feel God and know that His promises are true.  Nothing can bring me to my knees like those little glimpses of Heaven brought to me through my children.

And with all of this, I cling, ever so tightly, to the hope of spending eternity with my babies, where “He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more.” Where “There will no longer be any mourning, crying, or pain.” (Revelation 21:4).   Where we can spend eternity with each other without that cloud of sadness of time passing too quickly over our heads.  Where happiness and joy and dancing and smiles and “little moments” reign forever.  When you hear people say, “It’s not the big moments in life that you remember the most – it’s the little ones.” BELIEVE THEM.  Because there is more truth to that statement than I can comprehend.  The moments I remember most are those quiet moments, with my kids snuggled up against me, the sweet smell of their shampooed hair hanging heavy in the air.  The delightful sound of their giggles and squeals as I push them higher or give them underdogs on the swings.  The feel of them leaning back heavily against my body as they sit on my lap as we swing together.  The glint in their eyes when they look at me as they say their bedtime prayers.  Precious, fleeting time.  It truly is a gift and if you’ve been given the gift of time with your loved ones, savor it – relish it – live in it.  Because at any moment your gift of time could be taken away from you and you will miss the opportunity.

With four final words, “I’m gonna miss this.”