on the other side of parenting and the rhythm of peace

maegan youngCodi littleI love my children. Love being their mom. I just wish I had listened when my own mother kept telling me how quickly the time would fly. I wish I had understood that here, on the other side of mothering, I would want every memory I could get.

It seems our days were made up of hurry up, get up, sit up, stop that, come here, go to your room, don’t jump on that, stop pulling on that, it’s not a toy (boys!). Put that down, put that away, clean that up, you can’t wear that. Or that. Don’t roll your eyes at me, why are you bleeding, stop shooting that thing in the house. You drank what?? Wake up, get up, hurry up or we’ll be late.

Those days seemed endless but they weren’t and one day I found myself on the other side of parenting trying not to wish I could go back. Trying not to wonder how much I missed while I was rushing to get on with the next thing. Wondering why I was ever in a hurry.

I wish I had known that the place I was in such a hurry to get to would make me miss the place I had been.

I’m no longer wishing for the next place. I now know that time goes much faster than we ever thought and that it’s the little things that bring the most joy, that what we end up regretting the most is how much we hurried through it all and how much we missed.

lucy-fridgeThese babies will grow up soon enough. For now, it’s good to sit on the floor and play, rock for as long as they need it, let them get dirty and make a mess and then watch them sleep while I whisper thank You, God. And when they leave my house to go back home, I can look around at the mess and smile, because I have the memory of how it got messy. The bottles of water all over my kitchen floor are from an intense exploration of the inside of my refrigerator. The basket of toys dumped all over the living room floor is because real fun requires silly things like a little container of tic-tacs, a belt, a rag, a tube of diaper cream and a toy telephone. The papers lying everywhere are there because it’s delightful to stand up at the coffee table and sweep everything to the floor.

I’m in no hurry to clean it all up. I savor the mess because I savor the memory of how it got there. It is the rhythm of peace that would have made life easier on the front side of parenting. That peace would have helped me savor more and worry less about what needed to get done.

Before the grandbabies came, the other side of parenting was so bittersweet. I had a hard time closing that chapter of my life. But now, God has given me a new chapter and I want to hang on every word written in it. I am no longer longing for the past because what is here now is so very sweet. (I also realize that raising littles full-time is hard, hard work and I really just don’t want to work that hard again.) I pray for the young moms in my life because I know it’s taking everything you’ve got and then some to do it well. So I pray for strength, for grace, and for unhurried moments to enjoy the wonder of it all.

Being older has, thankfully, slowed me down. Not just physically (I would be no challenge to anything chasing me), but in every way, including my walk with Jesus.

I am finding that a frantic, get it all done pace of life was mostly my offering to Him, not His to me.

In those early days, I wanted to get to the next place with Him. I wanted Him to hurry and fix what was broken, heal what was hurt, so that we could move on to the next thing, the next part of the plan for my life. But Jesus has never been in a rush. His is a rhythm of peace. He knows that the time will go by quick enough, and there is so much to miss by hurrying it along. 

Wisdom is priceless, but often hard-earned.  And wisdom is telling me to slow down, savor the journey, sit at His feet more. Hang on His every word. Enjoy His rhythm of peace and the moments that come and then are gone.

Be in no hurry.

Ellie.Lucy.bathtime

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