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:
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.