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#Momlife and 10 Things I am Going to Miss

Life is crazy and with kids, many times it is down right insane.  Today, I will leave my house at 6:20 in the morning and I probably won’t make it home until after nine, and we will still need showers and I will have to do a host of other things to prepare for tomorrow.  

Not everyday is as bad as today, but many are and others are just plain busy.  I know I am not the only mom out there with a schedule like this. I know because I see you early in the morning at the drive-through window and late at night at the ballpark.  

Many times, life seems to be passing by in loads of laundry and tanks of gas.  Cleaning and preparing for the next responsibility, the next activity.

But as crazy as life gets, it is life.  Not like I am born and I will one day die – life.  But life – like I am really living, I am alive – life.  As bogged down as I sometimes get, this is what I live for, right now.  

And one day it will be gone.  My life will be in a different stage and I will sit back and daydream about these moments.  I may even pine for them.

My son turns 10 later this week.  He is moving into a different stage of his life, growing in his independence, and I am watching with bittersweet pride.  

Thinking about his birthday and his growing up, I began to realize, so much of what I fuss about now, I will miss later.  So in honor of my son’s 10th birthday, I compiled a list of seemingly insignificant parental dealings that represent so much more. Things I take for granted – even aggravate me at times  – that I know I will one day look back on as sweet memories.

10 Things I am going to miss one day:

1. Nerf bullets falling out of the dryer…

And in the floor and in the driveway and in the yard.  Nerf bullets everywhere. Right now they seem like a brightly colored nuance, but they are really just evidence of fun.  Of pretend play where imaginations run as wild as the Nerf bullets fly. They are evidence that my little boy was just that, a little boy playing.  What more could I ask for?!?

2. Handprints everywhere…

On the backseat windows, on the picture windows looking out into the backyard, on the mirrors throughout the house – everywhere.  There are tiny handprints and medium sized handprints smudging all the glass surfaces in and around my house. And while I may never look out into the backyard without having to look through smudges, it shows me my children are also looking out.  They are looking out into the yard seeing God’s creation. They are looking into the mirror seeing God’s creation. Their little smudges are showing me that they are noticing, they are paying attention to the beauty in and around them, but hopefully they are also seeing all the possibilities when they look out.  There is more to this world than what we see out the window and in the mirror and I pray my children take the time to discover it.

3. Messy back seats…

Messy might be a slight understatement.  Messy implies a clutter of toys and shoes, which would be accurate, but it fails to include the food crumbs (and sometimes whole meals), trash, layers of dirt, and many times clothes that are also included in my backseat.  While the thought of riding back there makes my skin crawl, I have long since surrendered to that battle. My messy back seat shows me an abundant life (and maybe a tad wasteful). My children have more than one pair of shoes, so some can always be found in the backseat – same goes for clothes.  My children always have food to eat, which is why they don’t mind leaving their half-eaten breakfast in the cupholder. My children always have a way to go, whether it be to sporting events, school, church, or a weekend adventure, my children don’t have to worry about how they will get there. And yes, it borderlines on gross, but I will miss it one day.  

4. Packing Lunches…

Peanut butter and jelly or lukewarm chicken fingers.. Pringles or Lays… apples or strawberries… For years now, his choices have only varied slightly, but they are his. He pretty much get what he wants, within reason.  And while I fuss when he doesn’t clean his lunchbox out in the afternoon or when he doesn’t eat well, I know this too shows me I have so much to be thankful for. He gets a choice. He doesn’t have to eat what the school provides. And I get to put notes of encouragement in his lunchbox everyday.  He gets a special word from his mom everyday. One day I will be texting them, or emailing them, or whatever we have then, but for now, I get to write a short handwritten note for my son while completing one small act of love.

5. Car rides to and from school…

This one is probably one of my favorites.  While I cherish lonely moments in the car now, I know one day I will wish for company.  My son and I have a 10 minute car ride to and from school each day. In these moments, we share things that our lives don’t make time for otherwise.  While it may be simple how-was-your-day type conversations or something more meaningful, it is our time. We get to sneak special breakfasts and after school snacks we don’t share with the rest of the family.  We can sing and dance and act silly. We get to just be together for these short moments each day. I know time will work itself out so that I share these same moments with his sister, as his moments fade, but for now, this time is ours.  

6. Interrupted meals…

Can I have some more tea?  I dropped my fork. Where is the ketchup?  I have to go potty. Two children means twice the interruption (I have no idea how some of you handle more).  I don’t know the last meal that didn’t require me to get up in the middle of it. But this, too, is a blessing.  Interrupted meals also mean silly conversation and laughter around the dinner table. It means shared blessings and favorite moments of the day.  It means family time where we can relax and just be the family of four that we are. One day our daily dinner time will be party of three and then two, but for today it is four.  And if that means constant interruptions to my meals, I will take it.

7. Scrubbing baseball pants…

I don’t want to think about what I could have accomplished in the time I have spent scrubbing baseball pants – or just doing laundry for that matter.  And while it may have meant that I have finished that novel I want to write, I can handle the sacrifice. Because dirty baseball pants mean that my children have worked hard at something.  It means they have understood the benefit of practice. It means they have felt the rush of success and overcome the punch of failure. While dirty baseball pants may seem like they just played a game, it also means they accomplished so much more to get them ready for the ups, downs, and hard work of real life.

8. Dirt everywhere…

They take off their shoes – dirt.  They take off their socks – dirt. Their clothes, their beds, and therefore my house – all full of dirt.  I am not really sure where it all comes from. I mean, really, how is there any dirt left on the playground?  And while all this dirt makes my life a little more difficult with all the extra cleaning, I’ll take it. Dirt means they played and usually played hard.  It means my daughter probably laid down on the ground and made dirt angels. It means she created a five course meal out of mud. It means my son probably ran more miles playing chase than your average marathon runner.  It means he fell down while playing but got back up. It means they played carelessly, and maybe a little recklessly. They were not worried about coming up dirty. I hope that is a lesson they never forget. Its okay to fall down and come up a little dirty.  

9. Fussing..

Siblings fuss and fuss and love and then fuss some more.  I know you know, and then what do parents do – fuss too. But whether I am fussing at my children for fussing or fussing at them for something else, I am glad I have the privilege of fussing.  Fussing means I am instructing and guiding my children. It means I have input in how they turn out. It means they hear “wisdom” from their parents and will have that wisdom in their hearts. One day they will be grown – adults – and my opportunity to instruct will have passed. I want to lead them and guide them as much as I can while they are young and impressionable, hopefully more by example, but yes, sometimes it takes a little fussing too.

10. Homework…

I am a teacher and I do believe homework in moderation is beneficial, but oh, goodness it is a struggle sometimes.  I bet more arguments have started over homework in the average household than anything else. And I hate that it becomes a battle every time I mention any type of school work. But – and I know this may sound crazy – but I love that my children have to do something they don’t want to do.  I love that they have to be uncomfortable, that they have to work their brain and maybe even get a little frustrated, that they have to put forth some effort in order to gain a reward. But, yes, I love that they also see a reward. That they see the grades they earn because of their work.  They see the knowledge they gain because of their work. I love that homework means they worked hard and then saw the rewards of their hard work.

Nearly every time I worked on this list, I got a little teary eyed.  I can’t believe I have a child who is half grown. I sit back and regret all the wasted moments, but then I look at all these moments – and many more – and the big picture looks pretty good.  

Even in the work of parenting, I get to see beauty and strength.  I bet you can too. Your list may be different than mine, but you have your “chores,” your “aggravations” in parenting that I hope you now realize are really a blessing.  

And I bet there are some moms out there that already miss many of these things.  I hope you realize what you were doing then was so much more than the surface level duty.  

We are raising adults and what a bittersweet struggle that can be…

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