photo by Abigail
It seems my senses have been awakened with the spring. I'm noticing colors in the trees and flowers like I've never seen them before. It almost looks like autumn with the tones of gold and red hanging on the branches, the leaves not fully out. The pollen is covering everything like fairy dust, and I don't recall it ever being this thick.
My emotions have been awakened as well. One minute I'm laughing, and the next I feel like crying. There are so many changes taking place, and it's all happening so quickly that I often feel dizzy.
When my children were small my husband worked very long hours. With three children that were three and under, I had to set rules. They were taught to obey at an early age, and there was no room for compromise. You listen to Mom the first time she addresses you. There is no backtalk. No jumping on furniture. Pick up after yourself, etc. I wanted for my children to be happy and have fun, but I could have easily lost the battle if I caved. I was also very diligent about naps and an early bedtime. 7 PM. Even in the summer. For years my children talked about what torture that was, and how they used to sit in their windows, watching the other children on the street riding their bikes and doing cartwheels down the sidewalk. I feared inside that, maybe it was mean and torturous, but I was exhausted by 7 PM, and so I stuck to it.
I tried to make each day an adventure. We made tents from sheets and afghans. I painted their faces. We made up plays and songs. We wrote poetry. We painted and played with Playdoh. We played outside for hours on end. We picked flowers, and went on hikes. We walked all over town and took in the sights. We had tea parties, and camped in the living room. Though I was fun, I feared that all they would remember was the strictness. For years, it seemed that was all they remembered. I cringed each time I heard them reminiscing, and it broke my heart. Didn't they remember all of the fun, too?
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well,
But you exceed them all."
As it turns out, they did remember the fun. Without me having to remind them. As my children get older, they start reminiscing about different things. "Mom, do you remember when we ...?"
And to Jon, "Mom was the best! She would always ..."
And I feel blessed. Blessed because God has entrusted me with these four beautiful lives. Blessed because my husband has always supported me in my efforts to be the best wife and mommy that I could be. Blessed because even when I couldn't see it, the fruit was growing. Silently. Slowly. But growing just the same.
Mac graduates and heads off to college in a few short months. He works four evenings a week, and will take on more hours over the summer. I know that God's preparing me for when he's not here on a daily, or even weekly basis. He's smart, and funny, and easy to be around. And he blesses me with his boyish giggle that hasn't changed since he was two! He blesses me by grabbing his guitar and singing to me, happy to play my requests. He blesses me by sharing his day with me, and looking for my approval. He blesses me by calling me Mommy-O, and by making me laugh.
Autumn is graduating and getting married. She'll be living 40 minutes north of me. I won't be seeing her on a daily basis either, but the LORD is cementing our hearts together. While I'll always be her mother, our relationship has slowly changed over the past year. Next to Verne, Autumn is my closest friend. We can finish one another's sentences, and have similar goals for our lives. She blesses me by being unique. She blesses me by being submissive. She blesses me by taking charge, but being kind and loving rather than a dictator. She blesses me each time she sweeps a floor or does a load of laundry. She blesses me with her quiet strength.
Collin is finishing his freshman year. He's diligent to rise each morning and begin his day by completing tasks that no one ever has to remind him of. He's a go getter. I never have to ask him twice, and he never complains. He loves to be outside, and he loves to help his dad whether they're mowing grass or fixing the car. He blesses me with his no nonsense approach to things. He sees what needs done, and he does it. He blesses me by calling me when I'm at the store just to make sure I'm okay, and to see when I'll be returning. He blesses me by making dinner or dessert, and cleaning up the kitchen as he goes. He blesses me when he comes alongside me and shares my load. And he blesses me with his bear hugs (complete with growl!) and kisses.
Abigail is the baby of the nest, and though I've more time left with her than the rest, it's flying by. Perhaps I'm more aware because of the older children, but she's aware, too. When she was just five years old she climbed onto my knee and said, "We need to cherish this because we can't do this forever." Indeed. Abigail blesses me with her tender touch each time I have a headache. She fixes me a cold, wet washcloth, and gently kisses my forehead before placing the soothing cloth to my brow. She blesses me by holding my hand, and wanting to be by my side every possible moment. She blesses me by her tender spirit and the way she cares for everyone around her, longing to make each day special in some little way.
Grandma has been living with my parents for three weeks now. I've called her several times, and she's doing well. My mom has more success getting her involved with things. They play games together in the evenings. Grandma will go shopping, and sit outside while my mom weeds. And yesterday, Grandma called me. I was thrilled. She asked all about the children, and filled me in on each of my aunts, uncles, and cousins just like she did when she was here.
I feel very blessed to have had her here for the three years that we did, and I'm at peace.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
says the LORD,
thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
Even when I'm unsure about where I'm going, about how things will work out, God knows. And His plan is so much better than mine!