When we take the time to see the magic in the ordinary moments, we are given the gift of truly seeing our children for who they are.
We were on our way home from a big Christmas celebration. You know the kind. Cold, windy, and long lines but the kids love it, with trolley rides, horse drawn carriages, lighted parade, and fireworks. I mean come on, who wouldn’t love that?!
After a few stops and a quick supper, we decided it was getting late. We dropped into Target for a bathroom break and a few items. I could be in and out in 10 minutes. Did I mention I was heading in there with my 5-year-old?
It was an ordinary scene, I’m sure. Mom is hurrying along as fast as she can, holding onto that little hand and trying to rush them along. Looking straight ahead and trying to remember exactly what it was she needed. Only half listening to the youthful chatter.
After wandering around a bit, I took a second to regroup. What did I come in here for? There in that ordinary and frustrating moment, I heard her sweet voice, “Mom, I had fun today. Did you?” I looked down and I saw her. With that big smile and missing one tooth. Crinkled nose. Wild hair. A contagious God-given joy that shines through her eyes. She’s getting big, yet she’s still so little.
I can’t explain it, but I really saw her today.
As we walked along we decided to return something we had picked up. “I can do it! I remember where we got it from.” Independence. This is what we all want for our children, right? She walked a few steps ahead of me with such confidence. She placed the item on the shelf, turned around with a big smile and ran back to hold my hand. That’s where that little hand belongs.
I couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat.
I had that thick, heavy feeling that I’m losing precious time. How did this happen? You know that old cliche? The one EVERYONE tells you when you’re expecting your first child. The one you smile politely at and give a nod like you know what they are talking about but then inside you’re rolling your eyes. “It goes by fast, so enjoy it. They’ll be gone before you know it.” I’m realizing every day that it’s true. Every year seems to go by faster than the last and I feel like throwing a tantrum. Kicking and screaming. But I think that may be frowned upon, and it won’t do a thing to change it.
I also have a toddler now. While I know I won’t miss the dirty diaper laundry and him not being able to tell me what hurts when he doesn’t feel good, I know that I will miss the cuddles and drying away his tears. Knowing that a kiss will make almost any boo-boo disappear.
We Only Get Right Now
It scares me to know that these moments can’t be taken back. We don’t get a do-over. But we do get right now! Life changes. Friends move away, we lose loved ones, babies grow up. We don’t always do things right but there is grace for tomorrow. I pray that God will show me the things I need to see. That he will “teach me to number my days”. Not so that I can live in fear of the unknown or in the past lost but so that I can live each day to the fullest. To see our loved ones right where they are. Just as our heavenly Father sees us. Right where we are. With love.
I get so caught up in the everyday “ordinary things” that the things that are not ordinary, become ordinary. The sweet sound of laughter from my two littles playing happily together begin to blend in with all the other sounds. The singing becomes just another song. The “I love you’s” get responded with a quick “love you too”. One said without meaning and becomes just another automatic response. It’s amazing what small ordinary moments God will use to show us the things we need to see, the people we need to see. I am glad I saw her today. Really saw her. Time is so precious.
Time is fleeting.
It doesn’t take long for us to fall right back into those habits. Even just a few minutes later, asking her to be quiet for the umpteenth time so her brother will fall asleep, or the next morning trying to get everyone out the door for church. The fighting because he took her bear, and then she took it back. I hope and pray that in the midst of ordinary that I will be able to look at my children and see them. Not just look at them but really truly SEE them and who they are and that they will see me and a mama’s heart that loves them more than they could ever know. Despite my sometimes ordinary tendencies, because there is nothing ordinary about them. They are made special. God made them uniquely extraordinary.
He made us all that way.
He sees you and knows your heart even when you feel like no one does. He knows your voice and longs to hear it. He sees you even in those mundane ordinary times. Even in our temper tantrums and when we’ve moved away from him. He will always be there waiting with open arms to kiss away your sorrows. To love us even when we feel unlovable. Yes, my dear Friend, He sees you. And he loves you!
Yes, I saw her today and found so much more than I was looking for in what started out as a quick stop into Target. Yes, Lord, please teach me to number my days so that I can better love those around me and SEE the world around me through your eyes.
May we all stop looking for the things we think we need and see what we’re already holding right in our hands.