We have 4 kids. All girls. We have a unique situation in that we had 3 of them spaced 2 1/2 years apart each and then we were done…. until 8 years later when we got a ‘surprise’ from Jesus. I was pregnant… and with girl #4! That surprise gift is now 3 1/2 years old but let’s rewind to a time when there were only 3.
I remember when they were 5 and under. It was physically exhausting. Toddlers and littles are an incredible amount of fun. And physically exhausting. I remember needing a break from time to time – just to regain my sanity. I loved them to the moon and back but I was tired. Fast forward a bit to the day my youngest was 5. The day I sent them all off to school. I (or most days, my husband) would drop them off at school for the day and I would have hours alone. I would miss them but I had some breathing room and it was glorious. And also really weird. Now that I’m on the other side of that stage, I think back and see that I never really thought those exhausting days would end. As ridiculous as that seems, and as many times as I heard moms further along than me say “This too shall pass”, I never thought a day of chasing toddlers, changing diapers and nursing infants would end. So when it did, the day they all went to school – all day, every day – it was really weird. I wasn’t jumping for joy and I wasn’t crying in my pillow. It. was. just. weird. My kids were growing up. But they weren’t grown up yet.
Somewhere in this season of our lives, we had some friends over. They had more kids our kids’ ages but they didn’t stop at 3 and had some a little younger. After they left, I went into my oldest daughter’s room – she was around 9 or 10 – and found that one of my friends’ toddlers had found a box of tiny jewelry beads and threw them ALL over the bedroom. Not a huge deal but I did have to get on my hands and knees and spend some time picking them up. As I did this, I muttered to the Lord, “I’m so glad we’re past this stage with our kids.” Meaning this stage, where there is a constant mess because they’re always dragging stuff out. Where they’re not much help picking up after themselves. Where it’s pointless to even pick up or vacuum because 2 seconds later, you’re going to have to do it again. I was grateful this was not my current season of life. And the Lord spoke to me one of the most profound truths He’s ever spoken to me. “Beads are easier to pick up than pieces of a broken heart.” I heard it clear as day. I related it to my life as soon as I heard it.
One day my girls would be past this little lull in life – the lull where they aren’t physically exhausting but aren’t into the emotionally trying times. They weren’t much interested in boys and they hadn’t hit the emotional roller coaster of puberty. We were in a lull, a still moment of life. Things were generally smooth sailing – not perfect but not tumultuous or exhausting. And the Lord was reminding me, “This too shall pass.” This season isn’t the previous one but it isn’t the one that’s ahead. He was reminding me to enjoy every moment, every season. Each one is different, has it’s different struggles and challenges. Sometimes life rolls by a while before the next bump in the road.
And now we have hit the season of life where we have 3 teenage girls. They still aren’t completely grown up but those days are now within sight. Are these teen years physically exhausting? Not so much as a decade before. Emotionally draining? Sometimes, yes. The issues and concerns are so much bigger than making sure the living room can be walked through without tripping over a toy. Now it’s about talking out relationships and curfews and boys and money privileges. Today, they each have a phone and we are all subject to misunderstood texts. A decade ago, the girls had no opinion on their curfew (they couldn’t drive, duh) and they didn’t own a phone. Today, they each have an opinion. That is sometimes different than mine or my husband’s. And even though I’m the parent, I value their input and don’t demand control. We have a relationship where we try and protect each other’s hearts. Where we openly talk things through. We’re living a time where their dreams for the future aren’t 10 or 15 years off, it’s just around the corner. Real decisions about sending my ‘baby’ halfway across the country are being made. This is so much more tender on my heart than picking up cereal off the floor. Do I get more sleep at night? Yes. But do I have to fight fear a little more? Absolutely. Do I have to constantly have to clean up after them? No. But do I have to bite my tongue a little more? Most definitely.
And I can tell you, from experience, that it is unquestionably easier to pick up beads off the floor than help put back the pieces of a broken heart.
Back in the lull of life