I complain almost daily about the state of my messy house. I can’t remember the last time, that even a week went by, that I didn’t comment on the size of it. Too many hours have been spent worrying about things that don’t matter, while blonde heads and chubby fingers play and giggle only an arms length away from a hug, cuddle, or a soft caress of the cheek. But, instead of reaching for them, those lost hours all passed without even a wistful gaze in their direction.
How many times have I taken for granted this beautiful family that was almost lost before Jesus intervened and gave two hurt people the deepest desires if their eternal hearts? How many moments have I spent mindlessly scrolling, staring at this lighted screen, feeling like I was missing something more special than what is just on the other side of this phone?
When I stop and breath, even for just a moment, I hear the soft breaths of my baby girl and my husband’s quietly whispered prayers before he kisses our boys good night. I see toys on the floor that irritated me today but that I know I’ll miss in a few years when they’re gone. One day, I’ll long to feel the stabbing pain that can only be felt when your bare foot meets a lone Lego.
If I stop, even for just a second, I remember how much I loved this little house the day we moved in. I invited a friend over just because I wanted to show her the built in LAUNDRY cabinet and cabinet space above the bath tub (That remains empty to this day). We brought every single one of our babies home to this house. Each of their car seats were set in the exact same spot on the floor as we brought them into our home for the first time.
In these moments when I catch my breath, I remember that our children don’t know any other home. They don’t know that the laundry, at one time, didn’t have it’s own spot on our couch. They don’t know that my two year old’s room was once an office/junk room. They also have no clue that I’m not a perfect mom. They just know how much they love it when I sit on the floor and play trains or tickle them until they get mad at me. They know how sleepy we get when we all pile up in the big chair to watch a movie. They know how to find they’re way to my side of the bed after a bad dream in the middle of the night.
Then, in these quiet moments I look, and I realize, they’re growing. My 2 year old is closer to 3 than he is to two. The signs of him being a baby are almost gone. I cry because my baby boy is growing-out and a big boy is growing-in. My first born, my first true love, reads to me. He has independent thoughts. My baby girl, I never put her down, but that’s not stopping her from growing. She smiles. Today she said, “Ba ba ba…” And she meant it. Soon, they’ll all be a little older. These days will be the old days and they are so good.
So, after I put my phone down tonight, I’m going to forgive myself for not being the mommy I always thought I’d be. I’m going to forgive my kids for not being the kids I always thought I’d have. I’m going to be ready for the moments when they are with-in arms length. After this paragraph, there will be less scrolling, more hugging, more smiles, more love and more forgiveness. At the end of this sentence, is a mom who appreciates and makes time for, this little house, toys on the floor, piles of laundry, and the family and amazing life that God has given me.
Written by Crissy Terrell