We went out last night to let the kids ride bikes and the baby run around and the parents cheer and chase. It was hot and, overall, a slow go, as bikes (and attitudes) needed frequent adjustments.
The boys worked hard and were off, no help necessary.
Ella rode her trike a bit but lost interest and took to running, dancing, prancing, and leading Tessa.
Tessa was in the thick of it.
"ELLLL-LLLLA!" She screamed as she ran behind. Circles and circles she ran, how those little legs could even go that far is beyond me. But she did, and apparently could have done more, as she yelled her protest when we left.
The reality settled over me that I don't have a baby any more. That felt funny because I see myself as a mom of littles, as the ring leader of a little circus of a baby and a few preschoolers. But that isn't the case any more.
I've known that they were growing up. But it occurred to me last night that I am growing up.
I'm not a newlywed, not a new mom, not fixing dinner with a baby on the hip.
Next year, I'll have THREE doing school and just one dinking around, distracting us all. There's just one in diapers. One in sippy cups. One who needs help into a carseat. One in a crib. One who doesn't dress herself. And when that one grows just a bit more- there won't be any.
It's been in my nature to not realize the season I'm really in. I remember in my mid twenties, I got invited to a baby shower at church. I looked at the invitation, puzzled.
"That was nice of them to invite me," I said to Garrett, feeling like they had invited the high schoolers or something when they included me.
"You do realize you have two kids, don't you?" was my husband's reply.
Oh. Right. All grown up. That's me.
There's a part of me that doesn't want to grow up and it's a little hard to get to, hard to understand exactly. I'm not afraid of getting older or of change or loss. I don't want to be a kid forever, or a thirty-something forever.
I think it's more a longing, a wondering if I'm getting to the real things, if the years are passing in a way that matters.
At the heart of it all, I don't really need my life to be orderly or glamorous or all that together, but I so deeply want it to matter. Want to contribute. Want to give my heart and soul to things that are worthy.
I don't want to wake at the end of any decade and think, "Well, nothing significant happened in that ten years." Oh, I know there will be significant things with or without me- kids growing and tragedy that comes and celebrations up on us. But I also know that there is a way to live that brings the significant right into the kitchen, that pulls the things that matter to the top of each day's to-do list. There's a wisdom that senses the things that are of little weight and tosses those aside, let's them get dusty while the good stuff gets the best of me.
And that's how I want to live, all day, every day.
So, in case you didn't know, I'm growing up.
And, not to be a spoiler, so are you.
So let's not waste energy making it perfect, making it safe, making it risk-free. Let's make it matter.
Let's drop the notion of making it pinnable or facebook worthy or blog material. Let's make it matter.
And when the days are running away from us, when the kids are hot and sweaty and the AC is taking an untimely break and the well-ordered day is now a well-oiled disaster, may we find the wisdom to pray for patience and speak in kindness and point our kids to things that matter.
Things like love and hope and joy, serving and giving and listening, truth and freedom and light. And, of course, people. Made in God's image, freed by his grace, held by his hand, people.
People matter. And loving them, seeking them out, chasing them down- that is work that matters as well.
That's it for this afternoon.
See ya Friday.