Standing in the kids' closet, hanging up size 3T dress shirts belonging to my last little boy, it suddenly sunk in. In Luke 2:19 it says that she (Mary) treasured all these things in her heart, talking about her son, Jesus. I know what it means - I'm a mother and a Bible student so I've read it several times before. But standing in front of a collection of clothes including a few kept from when his big brother was that size, I suddenly treasured these things in my heart in a way I had never experienced before. Snapshots of memories flashed through my mind and a strange comfort came over me because I had been there for every one. I was a witness to these three babies' lives in a way that no other human was able to be. I was there. There's no assurance of the next 10 years, but for these past I am so thankful I was able to be there.
Being a mother is hard. Being a stay at home mom plus a homeschooling one can be lonely, despite constantly being surrounded by people. It's a 24/7 job that is full of thankless tasks and revolving doors of work. I'm pretty strong-willed and I'm married to a really strong-minded guy, so I want to do all the things great! But truth be told, it's wearisome some days, especially with an almost 3 year old who goes about destroying at the speed of lightening. I've accepted the hardness of it for a while, but keeping the joy in it is something I fail at quite a bit. As a newlywed, the ideas of homemaking were so exciting and fulfilling, but as usual real life is just harder than I thought it would be. But standing in a closet today, deeply aware of how soon it will pass by, I was just so thankful that I was given the best seat in the house.
This moment in life - where my 9 year old son wears bigger shoes than I, my 6 year old daughter having to learn how to manicure her strength of will with gentleness, and my baby full of joy and magic that I know will start to change soon - is being cast to a backdrop of unrest in our country and mountains of stress and pain that we, as their parents, are working to shield them from as best we can. We are still trying to learn how to be whole and healthy, despite life bearing down hard. In this age of adulthood, where people disappoint and hurt us, it's our job to process it and filter it with God's will in mind and provide these growing souls strength and wisdom to grow in. I remember thinking once when I was much younger how easy I thought it would be to avoid being a stumbling block to one of these little ones. Oh, how youth can deceive. One of my biggest fears now is that my pain or foolishness will cause my little ones to stumble.
Living through life's changes is complicated and I don't know what I'm doing most of the time. Today, I'm just thankful for all the treasured giggles and hugs and love that I have the privilege of soaking up.