“Don’t Blink”

It used to annoy the heck out of me when well-meaning people would see me with three small kids and say, “Don’t blink.  They’ll be up and grown before you know it.”  Or maybe they would say, “Enjoy every second with those babies.  They grow up so fast.”  And then there was that sweet grandmotherly lady smiling at my three littles in the grocery store aisle who told me, “These are the best days of your life.” It sure didn’t feel like the best days of my life at that moment.  Grocery shopping with three little kids is not usually anyone’s first pick for what to do in their free time.

I don’t know if it annoyed me because I was like, “I’m spending my days and nights with these little boogers and tending to their every need…loving them and reading books to them and playing with them, feeding them, bathing them, teaching them to count and know their colors and even how to read….I am not sure what else I am supposed to do!”  It was like they were telling me to do something that I wasn’t really sure I was doing.

However, time has a way of teaching you.  Teaching me. I can now understand what they were trying to communicate.  I love the days we are in now, but those days past will never come again.  I love the preteen girls that I am getting to know now, but those days of running around the house in tu-tu’s and plastic high heel shoes are over.  I love seeing Mack absorbed in football and reading 6 fiction football-themed books in a matter of days now, but the baby Mack that toddled around in a diaper and rain boots is not coming back to my house.

Kind of sad to dwell on.  That’s why I don’t normally dwell on those things.  I do, however,  think about how I was there!!!  I was there for the late night feedings.  I was there for the snuggles on cold mornings, baby in footie pajamas, of course! I was there for the first steps.  I was there for the patty-cake games.  I was there for popsicles and water sprinklers in the backyard (because a trip to the pool alone was too hard!).  I was there for all the books.  I was there for swinging in the back yard, strolls around the neighborhood, and afternoon snacks.  I was there for the first time they read a book on their own.  I was there when they got hurt.  I was there to kiss the boo-boo and give a band-aid if they needed one and even if they didn’t. I was there.

I am so glad I was there.  And to the young mama who rolls her eyes (in her mind) when the well-meaning people say, “Don’t blink. They will be up and grown before you know what happened!”—It’s true.  They will grow up.  Sooner than you think. But instead of wondering what that looks like or wondering if you will miss something along the way….just be there!  Be there.  Smile and laugh and don’t sweat the small stuff.  These really are some amazing days you are in with the diapers and picture books and funny toddler conversations.  But amazing days are likely ahead.  These little creatures continue to challenge you, but they also continue to make you smile and make your heart so very proud.

Just be there.

What makes me write such sappy words?  Well, Molly and Mack decided that their Reading Time would consist of their favorite books from when they were little.  Gah! Nothing brings back memories like picture books or their favorite short read-alouds from when they were toddlers and early elementary aged.  Days we will never get back, but days that were so much fun. Again, I am so glad I was there!

(Special shout-out to Josh who has always worked so hard so that I could be there.  He’s the best.)

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Have you smiled today?

In an effort to be honest and open, I will first say that I learned from my counselor that one of my “yellow” signals is when one of my kids say to me, “You doing good, Mom? Are you happy today?”  That is a flag to let me know that I am probably not in the greatest place, that the kids are picking up on my unstable emotions, and  I could use that waving flag as an opportunity to do a little self-examination.  I may need to take some time to be alone, take a walk or something like that.  So, yes, I have many, many moments of less-than-superb mothering.

HOWEVER, I was so encouraged last night by Mack.  He was up later than normal reading, and I was, too.  Josh was sound asleep next to me when I saw Mack slip into the hallway to tell me he was going to the bathroom and then would come say good night to me.  (Our rooms are right across the hall from each other…little too close, but we don’t have a choice.)

He came to my side of the bed, hugged me and said, “Thank you.” I asked him why he was thanking me.  I thought it was because when I was first tucking him in I told him some encouraging things about his school day. But he said, “For smiling at us, like you just did. You always smile at me when you see me coming, and I really like that.”  I was a bit taken aback, but so thankful that he shared that with me.

I have let that roll around in my head and heart a little bit today. Thinking about how our Heavenly Father very likely smiles when He sees us coming towards Him…whether to pray or praise or complain or ask for wisdom.  He is always available for His children.

I’m not sure what your day has been like– good, bad, busy, slow, frustrating, filled with ease– but maybe we should make an effort to smile at our children when we see them  coming towards us. Let them know you’re glad they are drawing near to you.  Let them know you’re available to them for whatever they want to talk about. You will be encouraging their little hearts and teaching them about their Heavenly Father.

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Now turn north!

I was pregnant for a million years.  Ok, not a million years, but it sure did feel like the days of waddling around were never ending.  I remember when Ruby was 5 months old I found out I was pregnant with Molly. What a surprise!

On Molly’s first birthday we announced that Mack was on his way. Surprise!

Ruby (the oldest) was only 2 years old when we brought Mack home from the hospital. Sweet Molly was holding her own at 19 months and now the middle child.

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When Josh had gotten all things taken care of so that we weren’t able to get pregnant anymore (or as Mack says, “when Dad got the shot to not have anymore kids”), every month for many months I would STILL feel like I was pregnant.   My mind was just so used to thinking I was pregnant that even though I was NOT pregnant and even though my husband “got the shot” so that we wouldn’t be able to get pregnant, I STILL really thought I could be pregnant.  It took some time and even a negative pregnancy test along the way for me to realize that, indeed, I was not going to get pregnant again.  It was time to move on.  Get some new thinking going on in that brain of mine!

Sometimes our thinking is just wrong.  We know it is wrong, and we know that wrong thinking has led (or will lead to) wrong actions, YET, we make excuses.  We chalk it up to how we were raised or the era we were raised in.  We don’t call it sin because, well, “I’ve always been like this.”   We just keep on making the same choices, keep on walking the same steps.

I recently read 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish strongholds and everything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to God.”

Sometimes we get in ruts of wrong thinking that will eventually lead to ruts of wrong behavior.  It’s got to stop!  I remember a verse in Deuteronomy chapter 2, verse 3, “You have circled this mountain long enough.  Now turn north!”

That’s pretty clear.

So how about you?  Got a mountain you’ve been circling over and over just because this is how you’ve always done it?  This is what you’ve always done ?  This is how my parents raised me?  This is what is most comfortable?  Maybe you’re just afraid to try something new and different or maybe you’ve not give any time for personal examination?

Might be time to TURN NORTH! Find some scripture to apply to your life and demolish those strongholds.

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