One Thing I Can’t Get

Tears came a surprise, unbidden.

And we’d only just begun.

I sat there, in the ballroom of the Marriott Las Colinas in Dallas with 800 other moms, listening as my sweet friend Sally Clarkson encouraged us to love our children well. My own children, of course, are not all anxious to be referred to as such; once they hit about 13 they’re no longer fond of that term.

Anyway, I sat listening to her painting a picture for us once again of a home full of life, of God, of beauty, of tea and candles, of great stories and music and fun … and I wanted one thing:

More time.

The one thing I can’t get.

I sat there in that ballroom with tears running down my face wishing for one thing: one more chance to tuck my firstborn into bed at night; one more chance to make him a cup of tea and a chocolate chip cookie; one more chance to tie his shoes, he would always ask me how to wear basketball shoes, and I never actually payed attention to that question.

He’s 19. It’s not going to happen.

I did it for many years–and continue with my little and medium-sized children still at home. We sit in comfy oversized chairs and read poetry. There is a pretty regular clamor for tea every afternooon–and they prefer Mad Hatter from the Disney store. If I don’t watch out, I’ll have to replace our candles every weekend because we burn them at dinner … and sometimes during the middle of the day. Most mornings we sit around the living room talking about how God is all powerful and made everything, even the things we can’t see (we’re working our way through a comprehensive Bible study for kids by New Tribes Mission.) Taking a walk to the park has always been a favorite thing to do when school is over, and I’ve had eight children now attempt to kick the clouds from the neighborhood swingset.

But some days are “no” days. Sometimes I let the busy get to me, and my attention goes to the work before me, my own selfishness, the tyranny of the urgent. I’ve missed a few tuck-ins, chapter readings, and frogs in the backyard.

Can I whisper in your ear, sweet mom? Bend in close, okay?

These days … sometimes they go by slow. 

But the years … they are racing by at the speed of life.

Slow down. Pay attention. Look your child in the eyes. Bake cookies. Grab a beautiful storybook and pull them onto your lap. Go look at the frog they just found in the backyard. Serve and love and fingerpaint *one more time.*

Because tomorrow it will be your turn to cry in a ballroom.


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20 Responses to One Thing I Can’t Get

  1. Nbrooks68601 says:

    I wish I had more time to do a lot of things differently. I know that is impossible , the question is where do I go from here?

    • Hi. Sorry, it’s been such a crazy week I’m quite behind on answering comments! I think the answer to your question is the same it would be in any remotely similar situation: start where you are. We can’t go backward; that’s okay. We can begin where we are, though. We can do what we can today to reach out, to love, to encourage and support, to pray… that’s really all any of us can do, whatever our ages and situations. Don’t look back, just look at what can be done right now!

  2. Kirstyn says:

    Oh friend – I miss you :)  This made me smile because yesterday I put on make-up, and my kids were like “WHERE are you going?  Can I come?”  I explained mommy was just heading out to the grocery store to run some errands.  “But WHY can’t we come?”  I said that mommy just needs a timy bit of time alone. “WHY?”  Because I’m home with you all, all DAY everyDAY, and sometimes mommy just needs to get away.  Little Cameron says, ” How about just one more DAY?”  lololol :)

  3. Shari says:

    Such a sweet post!!!  And truthful, yes, the years go by so very quickly. 

    I have tears in my eyes after reading this.  My littlest ones are 5 1/2 years old and 21 months and already I’m wondering how they got to be so big.


  4. Jamie H says:

    Thanks for sharing this post!  I don’t want the time to fly and yet I know it does.  Mine are still little and I am so aware of the time passing me by.  I’m not sure what to do about it, except try to enjoy it and use it wisely along the way.

  5. Llane says:

    Yep…….already had that turn three times now!…..don’t like it much as three of the boys are now grown, gone, and 2 are married.  Hard not to be emotional about it……not to dwell on the times when I completely messed up.  BUT, as you know Misty, God is faithful even when we are not…..and thankfully, He fills in the spots where we fall short.  I keep trying to think of my new “reality” as a new adventure and am trying to remember that being a mother is never over… just changes.  God bless you for being so transparent with this post.  Yesterday…..was another day “crying in the ballroom” for me…..

    • It’s not fun, is it? Akk! God is incredibly faithful. He’s been showing me many places He’s working in where I thought perhaps He wasn’t being allowed to work, if that makes any sense. Anyway, you’re so right–being a mother is never over! We just have to learn to adjust to our “new normals” which are ever changing. Bless you, dear!

  6. Nacole says:

    oh, Misty, yes, i needed to read this today–struggling. thanks for this very poignant reminder. God has been directing me to read certain things lately–funny how it’s all laid out before me…how He is gently teaching me. i learned something through this, my heart’s eyes have been sharpened–thank you.

    blessings to you sweet lady,


  7. Writersblock82 says:

    I needed this and love reading your blog. My 4 year old has jsut started crying when we leave her at church, at school – she has never done that before. I have been praying for God to give us a way for me to stay home with my 2 girls and am praying that a new venture will provide this opportunity because I am afraid that I will blink and they will be grown…

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoy it. And your sweet little princess … yes, they’re growing fast. Dear Lord, please open doors for this precious mom. Please give her creative ideas for ways to make money from home, to trim costs, to bless her family. Make a way, Lord, for her to be more present. Show her just what you want her to do! In your precious name.

  8. Sandra says:

    Thank you so much for the eye opener. We are struggling to decide to home school or not. Spending much time at the school lately for volunteering I can see the true benefit of the environment. So I am questioning our real reason to school at home. now I can remember god’s calling. Your post helped soooo much. I showed the children and they are again excited for their “final year ever” in school! Your post helped me take off the blinders and listen for God. Thank You

    • Praying for you, sweet Sandra! Praying you hear the Lord clearly, so you won’t have to doubt and wonder. I’m grateful that you were blessed by my words; they are definitely true; time flies … Bless you as you make your decisions, dear mom!

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