That’s what my children bring to my life.
As I sit on the couch listening to my little boy talking away, with his sweet little two-year old vocabulary, and only getting two out of ten words right, and his precious little expressions that only a toddler can make, I am suddenly overwhelmed with joy. It’s a joy that is so overpowering that it brings tears to my eyes and a tight feeling to my stomach. How do I put this in a bottle and keep it for all time? How do I hold on to his every word and his every move, so that when I’m old I’ll remember it all?
It wont’ be long before he can say “I love you too” instead of “yuh you too!” And how long will it be until, instead of saying he’d like some “swocket swips” or some “swocket miwk” will he just ask for “chocolate milk”? I want to plant in my memory the image of how he runs, how he jumps (off the couch!) and how he does “fwips”. And I wish there was a camera that could record how it feels to snuggle in with a good book, his head on my shoulder and my cheek resting on his beautiful little head.
When I hear my little girl, who isn’t so little anymore, giggling with her friends, carefree and innocent, I want to hold on to that, for her as much as for me. Seeing her dance in the grocery store or writing a funny poem in her math book, my heart is touched, and I want to hold on.
It’s an agonizing joy, because I know that these moments are fleeting. Because I know that in just a matter of moments, in the blink of an eye, he’ll be taller than me and she’ll be asking for a prom dress.
You may say “Beth, you’re borrowing heartache from the future.” And to that I would reply, “Not so. I’m investing joy into the future.” By knowing full well that these days won’t last forever, I am all the more driven to make them count.
Every time my sweet baby does or says something that compels me to hold on to him forever, I’m reminded that while I can’t do that, I can love him completely, I can treasure these days, and in so doing, I will indeed be building a relationship with my son that I can hold on to forever. When he comes to me and says “Mummy, I hoad you?” I say “Sure baby, I’ll hold you. I love to hold you. I’d hold you all day if you’d let me. And when he says “Mummy, I read a you?” I stop washing dishes and go read to him. Because this is my only chance.
When I see a glimpses of a beautiful young lady emerging where my sweet little girl used to be, and my heart wants to break, I can choose to slow down, and take in every moment. When she wants to sit down and watch The Waltons or Road to Avonlea, but I was going to read a book, we sit down. And we enjoy some girl time together. When she has a question, or just a funny story to tell me, I stop reading, or writing, or cleaning, and listen. Because this is my only chance.
I know I can’t stop them from growing up. And I wouldn’t want to. I know they have to grow, in stature and in wisdom, and I want nothing less for them. It is my prayer that they will grow into independent, vibrant, godly adults. I know that with every childish thing that gets put aside, there will be a new level of maturity to be celebrated. If I take the time to hold on to the moments, as they come, then I suspect that no matter how old they get, no matter what mountain they are climbing, my children will always bring me Pure… gut- wrenching…joy.