Did you ever play the blinking game when you were a kid? My sisters and brother and I would play for hours on our summer vacation road trips. Who could last the longest without blinking. We thought it was great fun, each one sure if we blinked we would miss out on something.
I have felt that way lately as my son finished his senior year of high school, went through a recruiting process to play college football, selected a school, and now we have 7 weeks left before he heads off to school to begin this exciting new phase of his life. Wasn’t it yesterday that he graduated from pre-school and began playing flag football? I am shocked at how fast those years went by.
Reflecting on how time passes so quickly reminded me of a conversation I had with a middle aged women when I was a younger mom with four kiddos just trying to maneuver my way through the grocery store. The older boys were picking at each other. The usual poking, pinching, pushing game that young boys love to play. My younger son was crying because he wasn’t going home with a box of Fruit Loops, and my infant daughter was crying because she really needed a nap. I am sure I looked frazzled when this sweet lady said to me “ Your gonna miss this one day”. I just smiled, half appreciative of her kind smile and half annoyed as I was thinking to myself, “ miss what”. As she began to talk she told me she too had four kids, all either married or in college and scattered around the country. She went on to say how she wished for the times when they were all under one roof, naptime, cuddletime, simpler times of raising preschoolers and young children. We had a sweet exchange and I left the store that day determined to enjoy the rest of my day and embrace the chaos of raising four children. Her words and love for her family left a lasting impression on me.
No one really understands what they are getting into when they become a mom. How do we embrace each stage and live in that season, not wishing for the next phase to come. How do we embrace mothering? When we embrace someone to give them a hug, we hold them with affection. To embrace mothering we have to be eager and willing to hold on tight to that belief that what we do as moms matter. Fixing dinner and doing laundry matters. Not checking our Facebook status to read what others are doing, but really being and doing with the ones we love, the ones God has entrusted to our care. Those small choices make a big difference.
How funny our childhood memories are…they feel so random. When I thought about my own special memories and asked my kids about theirs, none of us thought about whether or not the house was perfectly clean. All of the good memories involved spending time together. Yes all those chores will get done, and then again, maybe they won’t. Embrace the challenge of being in the moment.
This past week I enjoyed a family vacation in Mexico. One afternoon in the pool I was watching this little boy learn how to swim. He started the day wearing his arm floaties and by mid afternoon he was swimming across the pool into his Dad’s arms. He swam next to me and proudly stated, ” I can swim all by myself and I’m going to kindergarten this fall.” He was adorable. Sitting next to me was my son, 225 pound ,18 year old young man getting ready to start college in the fall. He too learned how to swim to his daddy in Mexico. Wasn’t that just yesterday? Now on this trip he was far more interested in the girls in bikinis and talking to his friends about their plans for the fall. My son said to this little boy, “ Don’t Blink” – I remember starting kindergarten and now I am starting college in the fall.” Then they both swam off leaving me to my sweet memories of my little boy and the hope for new memories to be made with this charming young man who calls me mom.