Having two children 10 ½ months apart presents as many challenges as you are currently imagining. Especially in regards to my two curious, adventurous, and nearly fearless toddlers. However, for a great deal of time there has been a certain challenge that I have allowed myself to begin to resent. I like to have fun with my family and allow my kids to enjoy a wide-array of experiences. So most days we gear up for what I always pray will be a seamless, stress-free outing (please note: it never is;). We arrive to said destination all body parts intact, and make it successfully from the car to the location of choice (this can be harder than you think;). I plop down my bags and then the fun begins.
Let’s take the pool for example— We arrive, I hop into the pool and get shot with water by the somewhat annoying spray guns, chase my little one underneath those unpredictable buckets that fill with water and bring a chilly splash crashing down on my head, run after my daughter who is halfway up the waterslide steps before she becomes the next drowning victim, give in to my son’s demands to hold his hand and “jump in, mommy, jump in” and my daughter’s desire to fill up watering cans and slowly dump them down my back…and that is just in the first five minutes. I then take a breath, look around and see all of the moms and dads who are sitting on the sidelines, relaxing in the sunshine, chatting with friends, reading a good book or playing on their phone, simply shouting out “be carefuls” and “good jobs”. Hmm…must be nice.
Then we venture to gymnastics lessons where I am the only parent required to join my kiddos on the bouncy mat-covered floors. Here they are supposed to sit in a circle and patiently wait in line for things like swinging and flipping on bars with cute stuffed animals dangling from them, or jumping on a trampoline or into a pit full of foam squares. It never happens. I work up a REAL sweat chasing my babies all over the room as they seek to experience all of the fun this place has to offer. I look through the glass windows and see parents whose kids are older or more experienced able to just sit and watch from the sidelines.
These stories ring true for nearly everywhere we go or everything we do- whether typical day-to-day things like grocery shopping, nap time, bath time, Grace’s soccer games or more adventurous fun-filled outings– that I do realize are a privilege. It’s just that I am in a truly hands-on stage of life and I am being called to be right next to my kids as they take part in all of these experiences. But what I am realizing, is that someday I won’t be able to. There were 27 years before they were born and as many God-granted years after they grow up that I will be able to indulge in simple pleasures, like sitting, sleeping, uninterrupted potty breaks, adult conversations etc.
Truly though, there will soon come a day when I will no longer be able to take them by the hand and plunge with them into whatever waters they are facing—whether calm and beautiful or stormy and ridden by fear. I won’t always be able to hold them when they are scared, keep them safe from harm, and see up-close the laughter and joy on their faces as they soak in this life. I will go from instructing to hoping, from holding to watching, from seeing it all to just hearing about it. Someday, I’ll be on the sidelines of their lives, only able to cheer them on and pray God’s absolute best for them. Someday, I won’t be holding their hands, I’ll be forced to let go.
So for now, I’ll be covered in sand at the sandbox and drenched at the lake. I’ll linger a little longer to sing just one more song or tell just one more story. I’ll be holding hands and chasing my dreams–two little gifts, I never want to take for granted. Until the day comes when the sidelines is where I rest, I’ll be jumping and running and soaking in all the beauty of their lives.
Hmm…it must be nice. Well, yes, it really, really is.
Grow: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1. What season are you currently in and how can you fully embrace it? How can you thrive instead of just survive?
Give: As you fully embrace your current season of life or the circumstances you are currently facing, how can you use them to bless someone around you? If you have children, how will changing your perspective to embracing each season allow you to give more and enjoy more in parenting?
Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.
© Tamara Gurley 2014