I knew from the start she would be my only biological baby. After a brief period of grief over that realization, I began seeing everything differently. I didn’t truly spoil her – we live on a farm, so a spoiled child becomes a burden more than a blessing. I did promise, however, to carry her until I could no longer hold her weight.
I was determined to savor every second with her. I would cling to every word. This would be my only child. I didn’t want to take one second for granted! I wanted to notice the good in mothering.
Years flew by and as much as I still kept that promise, I was getting older. Forty hit me hard! Slumber parties and endless preteen talks were more draining. I had to push myself to stop and read that book with her or watch a movie or not get frustrated when I wanted to hear my favorite song on the radio and her little mouth just had no desire to turn off.
And then a special weekend happened.
We headed to Tennessee for a horse show. My little girl wasn’t showing, but she wanted to ride along. I was hesitant. This was going to be a long and tiring four days with a lot of work ahead, but I gave in. We left with our horses in tow filled with anticipation of what the weekend would bring. All the way up, she was quiet. As I glanced in the rearview mirror, she looked so grown-up.
She read and enjoyed the view of the trees and mountains as they changed from state to state. She even spoke about the purple mountains in the distance as we entered my favorite hidden places in the North Georgia mountains.
As we arrived at the horse show, she helped in every way. Her very petite nine-year-old frame toted water buckets and walked horses and cleaned stalls. We ventured to the cabin we had rented for the weekend, and the big choice was given. Would she sleep with me or would she camp on the couch? Selfishly, I hoped for the latter since it meant a better night’s sleep for me. (I’m pretty sure we’ve all suffered the wrestling match of a child’s slumber.)
She chose to share the small double bed with me … Operative word being small. This is going to be a rough night, I thought. I was a little overwhelmed as I thought of how much I needed a good night’s rest. And just as I expected, I slept for no more than an hour before the kicking match began. Oh, I didn’t need that kidney, I grumbled. Who needs ribs that are intact. I mean, really. And then it happened. She was finally still. No more little girl ninja kicks. I cautiously rolled over.It goes by so fast. We moms hear it all the time. And it's true. But do we take the time to notice the goodness in our mothering?Click To Tweet
There was that baby lying there. Completely content to be there with her momma. Where had the time gone? I remember her lying in bed and watching cartoons as a toddler. And painting her nails and having spa night at four. I remember reading, hoping she would fall asleep on stormy nights, and her crying until she fell asleep when she was sick.
And in that moment, I just stopped and enjoyed her peace. Last year, she would have built a fort somewhere and next year she will want to sleep with the girls instead of with her momma. And as sad as it is, that’s what growing up is all about. And I love watching her grow. I’ve loved every single stage. The endless rocking of a colicky baby, the new found independence of walking, the temper tantrums of a sassy three-year-old, starting school, piggy back rides with her feet dangling down to my knees, and now this.
Too often we forget to stop and enjoy the little things. The kind word that changed our day, the fragrance of wisteria that will wither as quickly as it bloomed, the touch of a loved one can so easily be forgotten instead of appreciated. And sometimes those little things are hard. The little things can be bittersweet. But just like when we have to let our babies fall as they learn to walk, they are no less important to our story. And for tonight, I’ll enjoy the bruises. Because the bruises are reminders of time lost and lessons learned. And more importantly, they are a reminder of this beautiful journey that’s been gifted to me by my sweet Father.
Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (ESV)