This summer, I am teaching myself to linger. It is not natural for me, one who is and has been in a hurry for so long. But I have learned that if I am too much in a hurry, I can miss the miracles to be found in everyday moments.
I am more aware than ever now that every day with my children is a gift. They are vibrant, strong, idealistic, godly, loving, fun, and wonderful. They still make messes and even sin once in a while, but oh, what life and beauty permeates my home with their presence! We live spread about the world now, but when we are able to share moments and days together, I am blessed.
Learning to Linger
I learned this lesson many years ago, on the occasion of a birthday.
For Joy's fifth birthday, I planned a party I thought I would please her. I spent so much time cleaning the house so the moms of the kids I invited would see an orderly house, I wasn’t able to really focus on my precious birthday child. I was Martha-ing about, setting out cake, tying up balloons, preparing favors, making finger sandwiches, and planning what I thought she would like--all the while looking at the day through the grid of my adult eyes.
The children came and in just two hours, they had fought over the toys, spilled red punch on one little girl's favorite dress, threw a toy across the room hitting another little girl in the head. It was a memory of messes, crying, friction, and stress, and Joy was unhappy the whole time.
When all the guests finally left, I heard the pound, pound, pound of feet running across our deck. I walked out the kitchen door and glanced into the afternoon shadows playing tag with the fading sun over our mountain, and there was sweet Joy. Dressed in her old, slightly stained and torn ballet costume, she was running, giggling across the deck with a bubble wand. I stopped and sat on our picnic bench and just gazed at her as the sun went down. For an hour she played and ran and delighted in the beauty of her own bubble parade. I took it in, cherishing the picture in my mind, chastising myself for missing the glory of her beauty and youth in the busyness of my expectations of the party I had thought would make her happy.
Beauty in Everyday Moments
"Oh, Mommy!" she exclaimed, "This is my favorite time of my whole day! I am having sooooooooo much fun. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful present."
She climbed into my lap with a milk mustache sprinkled with cupcake crumbles and sticky bubble-juice on her hair, and snuggled up with a happy sigh. And so, I melted into her little body, breathing in the atmosphere of her pure-hearted, innocent love. I finally slowed down enough to cherish the moment and took the time to take a soul photograph whose imprint will be there forever.
And so this summer, as they all visit and then return to their own places, I will live in every moment, celebrate all the sweet fellowship that is right in front of me, no matter how many dishes they use, or how much noise they make. All of it will be precious and priceless, and I will redeem the moments for memories to visit when they are all gone once again.