We Moms love our children. Each one holds a special place in our heart. God gifts our children with His special gifts and a uniqueness all their own. My son is no different. I love him to pieces and treasure time spent together and occasionally, we get to enjoy a date when Daddy’s away.
We had one such date recently. Admittedly, I was a tad nervous about how it might go since he’d been disrespecting me by not listening when I call for him. I had discovered an outdoor event at a favorite park some distance away. While I knew he’d enjoy going, I was a bit reluctant that he might pull a Houdini and run away from me. My husband’s encouragement and prayers turned my fear into faith and dismissed any fears I might have.
We had a great time together that beautiful spring day! The sun was shining and we ventured to the park. He bounced in bounce houses til he was dizzy, scored lots of swag, learned quite a bit of history, and enjoyed the towering tree house in the park. My heart was full because he listened, obeyed and had “the best day ever”. Before we’d left the house that morning, I encouraged his behavior by dangling a carrot: “If you behave by listening to and obeying Mommy, we can have a slumber party tonight.” He was beyond thrilled at the thought of it!
We had such fun! He obeyed “right away, all the way, and with a happy heart,” meaning we would have that slumber party. We piled into Mommy’s bed and watched his favorite show, Arthur, til we both fell asleep. It was a memory I won’t soon forget. After all, the window for a little boy sleeping with his Mommy isn’t very long. He was so excited to snuggle up under the covers in the ‘big bed’ and watch tv. My heart was full! We were making memories!!
We had another such day! It was a full day of cross country, lego club, play at the gym, followed by a trip to a favorite restaurant with his friends for some lunch and yummy custard. I felt so grateful to have this time with him, to see him enjoy his friends and play til he was completely drenched with sweat. As we were leaving play time at the gym, his friend’s Mom invited him to ride in her van with the other kids. You’d think he was invited to go to Disney World! As I gazed into his beautiful blue eyes paying particular attention to his newly missing front teeth, he begged me to let him ride with his friends. Hesitant at first as he’s not ridden with anyone but Mommy & Daddy, I agreed to let him go. He excitedly hopped in her van, his little face all aglow at this newfound freedom. Meanwhile, I hung my head as I climbed into my car all alone. It was a short 10 minute ride to the restaurant for heavens’ sake, but to me, it seemed much longer.
All at once, my emotions hit me like a slap in the face! I realized our special times together won’t last forever. Soon enough, I will fade into the background as he chooses his friends over me. He’ll be too big to have a slumber party, and more often than not, I’ll be riding alone while he rides with his friends. I encountered a little whiplash from the reality of what’s to come. As they say, the days are long but the years are short.
I decided to ask God to help me CHOOSE joy. Joy in the moments peppered with frustration and disobedience. Parenting is about living one chapter, one stage of life at a time. As parents, we get only one shot with our kids. I don’t want to miss out on the good days by allowing the hard days overshadow the good ones. So, seize the day shall me my motto, as I learn to live with purpose and joy, drinking in each moment asking for grace all the way.