Washed in the bright light of midday and serenaded by the rhythmic clickety-clack of the key strikes, I nestle in to the corner of my couch. It’s an old, gray second-hand piece, which we have positioned next to our large window in the living room. It sits under the ancient air conditioner and is the coolest spot in the house, also the most contested spot over the next three hot months of summer. In the next room, lulled by the soft droning of the box fan, with lunch-filled bellies, my sweet sons, my treasures, have fallen fast asleep. These days naps are the exception instead of the rule. My boys are now 5 and 1/2 and nearly 3. Their shoes are too tight and pants are too short, again. The tick marks on the closet door tell me that my oldest is over half my height. The toddler bed and tiny training potty we have packed up are undeniable signs that on the outside, they are growing up. The questions they ask around the dinner table speak to the growing up that happens on the inside.
As a mom of little kids, freshly out of the season of diapers and late night cluster feedings, I find that I am keenly aware of the growings-up of these boys. I am aware of their growing bodies and minds, the constant hunger for food and attachment, for nourishment both physically and emotionally. I watch the tricycles become bicycles and then the training wheels come off. The blocks go from Mega to Duplo to the tiniest of Legos. The breastmilk was slowly replaced by mushy purees and tiny bits of food and now they sit in grown up chairs around the table feasting on a grown up feast. We moms certainly notice the growings-up of our children.
What I am less aware of on a daily basis is that, as a mom, I am growing up too. I am learning and growing right alongside these boys. In this season I am gifted with the privilege of seeing the world through eyes at 3 feet tall, and what treasure abounds… wonder, excitement, curiosity! Each moment is filled with longing to know, to see and to touch, and to understand. Each breath holds a question that when answered helps shape these precious little people into their becomings… the godly men into which they will one day mature.
Each moment spent with my children, each question they ask, each answer I give also shapes my becoming, the becoming and molding of this woman and wife and mother I was created to be.
I am growing out of the infants and toddlers phase and into the wonderful world of little boys. This is a new season of motherhood for me, of stretching out of my comfort zone as I watch them climb higher, ride faster and play rougher. I am growing up and can see that they are bigger and need me a little less. They sleep through the night much more often. They play well together in the worlds their imaginations create. They are more independent.
It is good to watch them grow. It fills me with joy and tugs hard at my mommy heart strings at the same time. It is in this new season I so often find myself whispering the same whisper of generations of mothers before me, “slow down”. Alas, I know that I can’t actually slow the growing up. Time will pass and years will be stowed away in memories, the makings of future stories to tell. So instead of weeping and begging time to stand still I am learning to turn that whisper around.
In my growing up I am learning about slowing down.
I am learning that I am the one to do the slowing down, to nurture and foster a heart that knows that slow is a treasure.
I can intentionally slow down the pace of our days and clear more off of the calendar. I can savor the questions and the wide eyes and the tiny hands. We now linger over bowls of oatmeal in the morning and play yet another round of chess. We snuggle up under piles of blankets and read the very same book again and again, yes…again! Today we are eating off paper plates and letting the floors wait a few more days to be washed. I turned up the music and danced hand in hand with my son who is becoming a handsome young man. I stretched out on the grass and soaked in the sun and perfect blue of my preschoolers gleaming eyes as he told me all about roly-polies and ladybugs and centipedes.
The boys will be up from their naps soon. We have big plans for this afternoon, big, slow, unhurried plans. We are going to dig in the dirt, let it dapple over our hands and smear across our faces as we search for buried treasure. This is a favorite game of my boys. With excitement they tuck their shovels into the dry ground and giggle as they toss the dust and pebbles over their shoulders. We smile and play and dig down deep. They enjoy the quest. I enjoy them. They dream aloud of what treasure they might find! A dinosaur bone! A box of jewels or candy bars! And though our shovels never clank a metal box or scratch the surface of a fossil, my heart overflows with gratitude for the treasure that I have found!