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!
My friend sits on the other side of the table from me. Actually, there are five of us gathered around this corner booth. It is late, and our plates have been cleared long ago. The coffee carafes run dry, but the conversation flows so sweetly, wetting our appetite for this rare and refreshing sort of fellowship.
The waitresses have set down their serving trays and moved on to vacuuming. One of them leans over towards us, “Excuse me if I might…” A vacuum in one hand, I expect her to ask us politely if we could move just for a moment, so she could do her job. Instead, she continues shyly, “…I just want to say that I think it’s really neat, how you all are here supporting each other.”
I wonder what she would think if I told her that three of these four ladies I met for the first time only hours ago.
We sat for nearly four hours in that corner booth sharing life. We spoke stories, and hopes, and passions, and plans, and struggles, and fears, and where we think God might be leading each one of us. A few themes were woven throughout the conversation, binding it together with what we held in common, threads of motherhood and Jesus’ love.
Each of us had cradled babies, and around that table was represented all of the seasons of motherhood. I spoke of rocking my five-month-old to sleep, another told of sending her fourth child to school for the first time this year, another shared news of an upcoming engagement for her daughter.
Such different experiences we had, but our hearts rung with the same melody that chimes its first note when we behold our first child, and motherhood envelops us wholly and completely and for the remainder of our days.
My friend across the table, she spoke it and it was one of those binding themes in our conversation, “They all tell you, ‘Enjoy it, it will be over in the blink of an eye,’ but I actually know it now.” She speaks of her son, eleven now, and in her voice you can detect this element of complete bewilderment.
We all know it is coming, that these babes we rock and nurse and cradle in the midnight hours, they will grow up. And when they do, we won’t know what hit us. We will look back and wonder where five years went, and then ten, and then twenty.
One of my new friends at the table checks the time and laughs at the late hour, “I have an eight AM work meeting.” I join in her laughter as I reply, “I have a three AM feeding. And then a six AM feeding.” A warm smile travels across her face. “I remember those days,” she tells me.
People tell us that we won’t. They say that this time goes so fast and we’ll blink and it will be gone and we won’t remember.
I thought they were right.
But then the other evening, before I climbed into my own bed, I crept into my boys’ room. It smelled a little bit like sweat and dirt, and a lot like the wonder of little boy play. I make my way from one’s bedside to the next, whispering prayers over boys sound asleep.
I lean over my four-year-old and take in his scent. I close my eyes and lower my face down to his cheek, and all at once without warning he is a baby again. My lips pressed up against his soft cheek, eyes closed, I see him as his infant self. I feel his newborn skin. I picture him small and frail and oh so new.
I realize in that moment that they were all wrong.
A mother never forgets.
These babies, as they grow and learn and become themselves all right before our eyes, each tick of that clock is etched into our beings. We are made of those moments.
“I remember those days.” My new friend had told me in that corner booth. “There are some things we’ll never forget.” I replied.
We think that time is our nemesis. That “the days are so long but the years are so short”, and “it will be over in a blink of an eye.” And yes, they are right, but only in part.
Because what us moms are not saying enough is this: We won’t forget. Time will tick, but it cannot steal away what is the very fabric of who we are.
Our memories are not being cast to the wind. Rather they are wound around us, woven through us, etched straight into our souls. And even when we think that we have forgotten—that time has gotten the best of us and stolen all we held so dear—in one sweet moment it will all return to us. With one kiss or one smile or one word, it will all wash over us again.
In a moment of pristine and startling clarity, it will all come rushing back, because who they were will always be a part of who we are.
So don’t worry Mama, if you failed to keep that journal or finish that baby book or snap that photo. Because those moments, those days, those phases that lie behind you now? They are still within you, buried in safe keeping. All of those moments you fear will be lost to the ticking clock, they won’t. Because all of those moments are the very fibers that have created who you are as a mom. And time can never take that away.
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!