Every day, in some small way, I am reminded just how quickly time passes. The only exception to this would be from about 5:00 to 7:00 on the nights when daddy is not home. On those nights, I'm counting the minutes til bedtime; minutes that very S-L-O-W-L-Y tick by. Other than those moments, I find myself wanting to hang onto every last second but, instead, I face the realization of how fleeting time really is. Try as I may, I am continually learning how impossible it is to freeze a moment in time just so I can savor it a little longer.
There are obvious milestones that remind me of the years that are ticking by faster than I ever dreamed. Each year when I pull down the Christmas decorations and then 6 weeks later when I box them back up, I am hit with how quickly the season passed. With each birthday party I plan, I face the realization that one of my babies has gotten another year older. With each anniversary, I celebrate the years that God has given to Jason and I and how with each passing year I love him more.
But, what gets to me the most, are the much smaller moments that mark a passing of time that no one but myself knows about. Today it was the act of carrying Micah's baby bathtub to the attic. It is easier to bathe her in the kitchen sink now. But, one day, in the not so distant future, the kitchen sink will no longer hold her and she'll move to the big tub, thus reaching another moment that pricks my heart and causes it to silently scream for time to slow down.
This very day last year, I was mulling over 20 shades of lavendar paint chips. I was determined to find just that perfect color for her nursery. One outfit at a time, her closet was starting to fill up with the things in a little girl's wardrobe; things our house had never seen before. I was discovering hairbows and bloomers and dreaming about the day when my little girl would be here to wear them. And, now she is 9 months old and I wonder how can that be? With every month that gets flipped on the calendar and each time I have to adjust her carseat straps, I just want to scream, "STOP!" Why is that?
Of course, I know if I could have the supernatural ability to stop time, I would miss so much more. If my sweet baby girl were forever a 9 month old, I could cradle her in my arms and gaze at her gummy smile the rest of my life, but I would forfeit much more. I would never see those first steps, hear her first words, see her off to kindergarten, teach her about Jesus, hold her while she cried over a classmate not wanting to be her friend, watch her develop into a lady, witness her walk down the aisle, and stand in awe the day she becomes a mother herself. Moreover, I would never know of her secret crushes, her talents and her dreams. Yes, to be able to forever cradle my baby, I would lose so much. But, it's still oh-so-difficult to allow her to grow up.
This weekend, a fresh reminder hit me as I was with my beloved Women's Ministry ladies. I heard several stories from women, who are now grandmothers themselves, as they talked about when their children were pint-size like mine. The stories they recalled were still so vivid in their minds although they occured over 25 years ago. The realization that time is fleeting washed over me once again. One day, I will no longer have babies to care for. The reality of that is painful because it has consumed my life these past 2 years. As challenging as having two under the age of 2 plus a 7 year old is, I absolutely love every second of it. I love riding the wave of highs and lows that a house bursting with children, chaos and activity bring. In the highest of highs, I feel joy like never before. In the lowest of lows, I cling to my Savior like never before. All the times in between, I am at peace.
So, what do I do when I clean out yet another closet and pack away old clothes? Each season, I am having to ask myself the hard question, "Store them or sell them?" With each piece, I remember the times whichever child wore it. In my mind, I can see them in that outfit, I can remember how small they were and I am briefly transported back in time. Selling them would mean closing this chapter of my life forever. In 7 years, I have never sold a thing. The "what-if's" silence the "we are done's". And, I wonder, "Is our family complete with 5?"
While I don't know if Micah is the cherry on top, our last sweet addition, I rest in knowing that God's plan will come to completion for our family. Three children or just one more, I don't know but He does. My job isn't to worry about that but rather to embrace the three little lives He has entrusted me with and continue to watch them grow, tending ever so lovingly to their needs.
This coming month, it will be an honor to hear all of Eli's new words, play toothfairy once Jacob's front wiggling tooth finally decides to come out, watch Micah master the art of sitting up, and love my man a little more than I did last month. It will also be a privilege to get another hug from my parents, share more laughs with my friends, and spend more time in God's Word. Each moment will feel so great and I will find myself wanting it to last a little longer. Inevitably, something will remind me that it can't. Maybe it's a new shoe size or a gray hair. Whatever it may be, I know it's God's way of reminding me that life is supposed to be lived and lived to its fullest; full of love, full of grace and full of giving just as Christ lived while on this earth. "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." I love the translation of this verse in The Message, "We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift."
Each day, each moment shared and each memory is a gift. However, perhaps the greater gift is that we are given another day, another moment shared and another memory. Over and over, year after year, with no merit on our own, God gives us the gift of time. It is up to us how we receive each gift. If I try to cling to the time that I have been given today, I will miss tomorrow's gift. Therefore, in the morning when I wake up, I will embrace all that the day holds. In my heart will still be the joy and laughter from today, but, there will be room for more.