936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
Your fingers interlace themselves around the golden clasps and cotton candy blue beads of my necklace.
Moments ago your toes, their length the width of my pinky finger, pushed against my soft caress as I stroke the bottoms of your feet. They curl down toward those perfectly plump heels, so soft from never yet being walked upon. Those feet will take you far one day. Today they’ve taken you no where, and still your presence has escaped me.
Your grip much stronger than those tiny hands and thin little fingers would gesture, they unwind from the golden strand. That pudgy hand with red impression from the chain now grasps at air, looking for something to secure it. But my hand is unavailable, preoccupied with nothingness.
I do not see you.
All of this, all of you, all of your long lashes stretching out to frame those deep sea blue eyes, I’ve missed them today. They went unnoticed.
Only once you release your suckle do I release my entranced attention on the worthless blips of news and nothingness before me.
I glance down and take in the whole length of your body, and it seems as though all at once you are a newborn no longer. Because all ten pounds of you is twice of what you were when they first laid you bare against my chest.
Your mouth slowly ascends from suckle position into a gummy grin; your eyebrows rise in unison and your eyes shining bright with life—your face emanates joy as you catch my gaze. You lower back down to resume your snack, only to latch back onto my gaze again, raise your head back up, and forget the task at hand. Food an afterthought, you hold me now with that unbreakable stare.
This, my son, is what I am choosing not to forget. And so I lay down the distraction, push it out of my reach, and graze my forefinger against the silky skin of your palm until you hug your fingers around me. I rock the chair front to back. Your eyes remain locked on mine, blue orbs swaying left to right within pools of white, dancing in perfect cadence to our rocking. I can’t believe I almost missed this.
In not even a year’s time we’ll move on from this practice. You’ll no longer need my milk, and slowly yet all too quickly we’ll make that transition, the one I loath as a mother, and these times of reconnection will be a thing of the past. You’ll gulp milk not my own from a plastic cup as you busy yourself with blocks and trucks. I’ll watch from the other side of the room, my lap empty.
And my biggest fear, my deepest dread is that my heart also will ache empty; that I will fail right now to fill it with every bit of you. That I will look back on this year of intimacy we’ve had, unique to only a nursing mama with her babe, and all I will see is the glow of a screen.
That I will look back in utter despair, because I won’t see you. I won’t remember your details.
When I choose to trade my attention for nothingness, then that is exactly what I will remember when I look back years from now–nothing. Including nothing about you.
I fear I will no longer recall the feeling of those fingers gripped around mine. Or the light in those eyes when you grin as large as you can straight into my soul.
Looking back one year from now, I want to remember. And so I choose to fill my attention with those moments worth remembering. To engrain into my heart how it felt when you fell limp into my arms, and the whole of your weight rested up against my abdomen, the one that held you, grew you, and prepared you for my arms.
I’ll etch into my being the sensation of your tiny breath warm against my skin as you sleep soundly, belly full of my milk, lost in your contented dreaming and secure in my embrace.
I’ll embed into my soul the brush of those soft strands of strawberry blonde hair against my arm as we fill our time with rocking next to that sunlit window.
These are the things I am choosing to remember. Because we can only hold so much within our memories, and what we give our attention to now, in the present–those are the things we will hold on to.
When we choose to preoccupy our attention with worthless pursuits, with anything and everything that won’t matter and will never be recalled one year from now—we surrender the opportunity to remember these things that we will long for once they are gone. By choosing not to see the details now, we choose to never see them again.
Yet by feeling the full weight of the moments now by savoring every divine detail, we inscribe those invaluable slivers of life deep into our being, rooted within us to never be lost to the ticking of time.
And so my boy, during this one year we have together known as your first, I am choosing not to remember wasted, empty time. I choose not to remember an achy neck bent over a glowing screen, or the strain of my eyes spent too long staring into nothingness. I refuse to rush on to what’s next, but instead to linger long with you in my arms. I choose not to reach for distraction to fill empty space. I’ll fill it with you, instead, and with all of your magnificent detail.
I choose to spend the full of my attention on everything I will long to remember once this time is passed. The fullness of who you are, right now, new and beautiful and transforming before me every single day. And in doing so, who you are right now will always be a part of me. I choose to remember you. All of you.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!