Thursday, September 05, 2013

Time, Tears, and Seasons of Life

I had a funny thing happen today while I was in the midst of one of my busier mom-taxi runs this afternoon.  In fact, I wrote this on the back of some receipts and old grocery lists I found in the cup holder of my car because, of course, I did not have my notebook with me while waiting for my middle boy to finish his drum lesson. But I didn’t want to let yet another blog post slip away unwritten within the oblivion of busyness. Don’t judge. I know I’m not the only one with an avalanche of receipts and old grocery lists in my car. :-)

Anyway, while (somewhat) blissfully in autopilot brain mode, thoughts drifting everywhere while driving to and fro this afternoon (I do some of my best thinking in the car), the lightning bolt realization hit me from nowhere that my oldest is about a month away from turning 15. (!!!!!) It’s not like I didn’t already know it, but it suddenly smacked my attention for some reason, and a huge lump choked me and I fought back tears as the last 15 years flashed back to me. 

I am immensely thankful for the young man my son is growing to be. In fact, I often find myself in tears of gratitude, on my face thanking God for the totally undeserved grace He has lavished on our family in the way He is growing all of these kids and who He is molding them to be. It is not because I’m some great kind of mom on my own, I can testify to that. God is extremely gracious and merciful, and I am grateful.

But at the risk of sounding a whole lot like those older moms who used to sort of annoy me way back when, I just have to say to those of you who may be struggling through the day to day with littles and the trials of making it through the hard and joyful days and ups and downs of toddlerhood, it really and truly is only a blink and those days are but a nostalgic memory. I won’t tell you to cherish every moment, because if you’re a caring mom you already know that, and those hard days really are hard and real and trying, I won’t sugar coat it and forget that. But, seriously, a BLINK.

And those tears I fight? They are because I know that these high school years - long as they seemed when I was living through mine - will be over in only half a blink. Then, poof, he’ll be a young man, maturing and starting out on his own. 

I am so thankful my children seem to genuinely like to be with their crazy parents, and they talk to us and listen to us.  But the time is truly so short. So, I fight that lump in my throat and those hot, bittersweet tears, and truth be told, some regrets at time not so well spent along the way. 

I know that moms who are older and wiser than I would tell me they feel the same about their grown children and would say, “Cherish this time. It goes so quickly.” Only that no longer annoys me. Now I nod and say, “I believe you.”

This is just me speculating, but I wonder if part of the curse that womanhood bears in the increased pain of childbirth may not be limited to the actual physical moment of childbirth, but may also manifest itself somewhat in this bittersweet lump and tears as we contemplate our children taking flight from the nest, and close as we may remain, knowing they will grow up and form families of their own. And then we have to step back, trust God to hold them and entrust them to Him and to His care and pray He would please in His mercy draw them to Himself, just as we have done since the first moment we knew them. 

The older I get, cliche as this may be, the more I realize how very fleeting a thing is time, how life truly is a vapor, how it just slips through your fingers and is gone before you know it.

May I use my time wisely, not fritter it away and miss the treasured moments with my head bent over a stupid cell phone or wasted time, and live this life well for the glory of God and to bring honor to Jesus’ Name, during those fleeting vapor moments as the seasons of life change and mature and during the ordinary busyness of life.

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