I go back and I read entries in this blog, and I laugh at the memories of the little boys I used to have– little boys who built snowmen out of grass and stripped naked and ran gleefully around the backyard– little boys who have, somehow, between now and then, grown up so much.
I don’t know what happened. I know this is the cry of mothers through all of time– how did that tiny, snuggly, soft baby I swaddled and rocked and cried with turn into this– person? Suddenly their shoes look like their dad’s shoes, not like baby shoes. And their jeans are ridiculously long, and I’m accidentally handing my oldest a sweatshirt that turns out to be mine. Suddenly I look at my three children and realize the baby years are done, the preschool years are gone. The onesies and diapers and the ruffle-bottomed tights are gone.
They have been replaced by something– good, I think. It’s just so different. Right now it’s all jokes about bodily functions and smells from bodily functions and hysterical laughter at bodily functions and– well, the boys are 10 and 12, with birthdays looming, so you can imagine. My daughter dresses up as a princess sometimes, as a ballerina sometimes, as a doctor sometimes. Her legs won’t stop growing and the shorts I said were okay back in May now make me cringe now, in the middle of September. She makes jokes about bodily functions too, even as she poses for a fabulous picture in her sparkly tutu and her pink stethoscope and demands that we call her “Doctor Princess Elsa.” There are dangers to having big brothers.
One hates carrots and wearing blue jeans. One hates sandwiches and fractions. One obsessively stalks the neighbors’ every move through the front window and has already mastered the duck face, which she says is “fabulous.”
One plays piano and one plays guitar and one wraps her daddy around her finger and talks about what instrument she’ll learn when she’s in second grade– most days deciding on the cymbals, because apparently she thinks our house is not loud enough.
One practices spelling and one studies computer programming and one sighs heavily over the terrors of 5+4 and 6+3, and I try to keep track of all of it and try to remember to hug and encourage and protect and love, because my time is so limited– so limited. So many days I fail.
We dance this complicated, ever-changing dance of life and growth, and sometimes it slows down for just a minute and we see, in a breathless moment of time, that we are moving forward– marching inexorably on– learning as we go. And if we linger in that moment of clarity, we might just see the beauty that is being woven in the midst of the small sorrows of growth and letting go, the great fears of the unknown future, the daily mundane living, the adventures and the milestones. This is how it is meant to be– always changing, shifting, growing.
And as they change and shift and grow around me– and as the face in the mirror changes too– I am grateful for my God who never changes, who placed me in the center of this good life.
“I am the LORD; I change not.”