Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Words to a young me

“To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.”
{Isaac Newton}
Before I was married and became a mother, I yearned for an established life.  I wanted the solid shoulders of a family that I’d helped to create, not the vaporous breath of a girl waiting to be old enough, wise enough, ready enough to have those things.  I also had something else before I was married and became a mother.
Oodles of time to ponder just how much I wanted these things.
Again, I had oodles of time.  Oodles.  Not just seconds, not just lunch breaks, oodles.
Sure, sure, sure, I worked (I was a teacher) and I had friends, a boyfriend turned fiance (now handsome husband), and family.  There were things that I enjoyed doing, like keeping a teacher resource website, reading, going out to eat and shop.  As a passionate person who is frequently impassioned (because, yes, you can be both passionate and impassioned separately…one sometimes being far more preferable for those around you than the other) I simply cannot abide being in limbo.  The holding period between being a girl waiting for her life to start, albeit how cliche, and a woman whose responsibilities include a husband and three daughters was one of the more anxious periods of my life.
Ungrateful much?  Yep.
Now that I’m blogging at 11:36 pm, still dressed, with possibly terrible (three iced coffees today) breath, potentially little hope of brushing these teeth before midnight (currently attached to a very light sleeping baby), and stuck like a lazy contortionist in a position that said adorable baby and this laptop forced me into but aren’t very obligingly helping me out of, I understand the importance of appreciating each moment of your life.  There’s such beauty and such joy to be found in the waiting periods of life, in the lobbies that precede our years of momentum.  The strands of twelve months that fly by as a mother really whip past quickly.  I find myself wanting to pull these minutes around my body, wrap them closely against my skin and breathe them in.  I want to make every single second of my family’s life a part of me.
Is there anyone who really wants to make their waiting years a part of them?  Not so much.  Mostly we just want to conquer them.
Instead of labeling any period of our lives as the “before”, we should think of them as without any label.  They’re not periods; they’re just lives.  Some people don’t get to the after part.  Some people fly away to glory before they get to hold the baby that they were longing for, or even the man.  Their childhood dreams are never realized, and instead of seeing their youthful face in pictures as they reminisce in years that gallop by, they touch the face of their Savior with less years behind them than they ever intended.
Every moment is a blessing.  Every sunrise – every sun ray – is a gift.  His mercies are new each morning.
I’ll be thirty-one-years-old this July, and instead of feeling like I’m the true adult that being in your thirties certainly seems to indicate (apply that one to my husband, will ya?  Love you, honey!), I’m going to remember that the freshness of this day doesn’t lie in having achieved the life that I couldn’t wait to get.  It’s also not in the sparkle of this youth that I still possess or in the warmth of the knowledge that there’s prayerfully still so much life ahead of me, the twilight of its journey still so, so far from the shore.
This moment is from God, and it’s this moment that matters.
And I am so thankful to be striving to live a life where He is all that does.

By the brush

Painting by Rose

My mother-in-law was turning sixty in May, and the girls and I wanted to create something special for her.  As an elementary school librarian, I knew that she’d like something reminiscent of children’s literature, and as a grandmother something handmade by her granddaughters.
The big girls each chose a poem from the anthology Sing a Song of Popcorn and then a verse or two from it.  We talked about what a “design plan” is and they decided what they’d like to do with paint.  They put their wonderful ideas down on canvases, and then I stenciled their verses over top of their dried work.

Painting by Alice

These beautiful masterpieces were so much fun to make (even the two weeks of green paint on my kitchen floor that totally offers proof that having three kids for me is definitely a busy job!) and so hard to part with, but we were so happy to give my mother-in-law such enjoyably crafted gifts!

Recipe for Preserving Childhood

First time running through the sprinkler this season, and our nephew’s first time in a sprinkler ever!
1 grassy field
6 children
3 small dogs
A pinch of brook
Some pebbles
Flowers to sprinkle
Blue sky frosting
Mix the children and dogs well and place them in the field stirring constantly. Pour the brook over the pebbles. Sprinkle the field with flowers, spread over all with deep blue sky and bake in the hot sun. When golden brown, remove and set aside to cool in a bath tub.
(A sweet little excerpt from a Depression Era cookbook, shared through the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania)