I've been thinking a very unoriginal thought lately (my apologies to those of you were suffering from the delusion that I was bright or creative).
There are seasons to life. This season that I'm in will not last forever. When I just totally do a parenting-face plant and I just act wrong wrong wrong then I'm relieved that 'this too shall pass'. At other times when kids are collaboratively playing peacefully makes me start to feel wistful and like I should just squeeze them to pieces before they're too big.
Also what that means is that this season of my marriage will not last forever. We will not always be playing "pass the child" because someday, despite my inability to really imagine it, we will have a house without children. When my husband is stomping around in the morning because he can't find his cover I'm ready for the season to change. When he's the one who proposes in-home trick or treating for our kiddos who can't handle "real world" trick or treating and goes to Costco to buy the candy and when the kids stampede each other when he comes home at night and they all spend ten minutes before he's even ready to leave in the morning screaming "bye daddy!" from the breakfast table then I never want the season to change.
This season with my lack of career will not last forever. I might have changed four poopy diapers today, but soon a time is coming when it will be four days then four months, then four years, and then I won't even remember when the last time I changed a diaper was. My season will change and there will be time for a graduate degree, a "real" job, or whatever else I choose to do with my time.I don't have to do it all now. That's something I struggle to remember because as soon as I decide I want something to happen I want it to happen NOW. If I want to write a novel then surely I'm supposed to do it NOW. If I want a child then I should have one NOW. If I want to go a great vacation I should start planning it NOW. But really, training to run a marathon may not happily coexist with three preschoolers. I don't need to to do it all now, really. There will be times in my life when I cannot even imagine the things that I will have time to be able to do. I cannot wait!
Seasons will change. My life will change. I will change. My family will change. I'm trying to worry less and enjoy more. I'm trying to look at today with the perspective that I'll have tomorrow looking back at yesterday. (It does make sense) It changes things.
I'm taking my feelings of nostalgia, longing, fear, and regret during this challenging season and I'm giving them to my King because he promises rest for the weary. When I stop focusing on everything else, and train my eyes to see Him then I will not necessarily ease or luxury, but contentment. Do I want to teach my children to be stressed, harried, rushing multi-taskers? NO! But how often is that what I demonstrate to them.
I'm learning to slow down, to smile more, to skip the critique and begin and end with encouragement. I'm turning the tv off and and snuggling my babies up with a stack of books and blankets. I'm not fussing at them from across the house, but laying on the floor with them and being there with them, even if it's just to break up the squabbles more intimately. I'm biting back the "hurry up!" which seems to come unbidden and instead smiling and encouraging them as they try to climb into their carseat, get their arms through the straps, and finally get the buckles latched. There will be a time for me to walk out of the house and be backing out of the driveway in 60 seconds, but it's going to be awhile! I'm swallowing my tongue when I want to shout "be careful! Stop it!" Because what's it going to hurt? I'm joining in the fun more and sitting on the sides less because no one can show me where the rule is that says "moms can't have fun".
I want to take this season for all that it has to offer me even if that is diapers, whining, and being tied to naptime. It's okay because along with those things comes being greeted with joy every morning, the hysterical nature of the things preschoolers say, and witnessing my children learn their way into the world. I also want to give my children everything that I can give to them during this season of life.
I'm starting to see our lifetime unfurling before us and it's going to be incredible. I can't really even fathom what secrets the seasons in front of us will hold, but I believe that each age and phase we experience with our children (and their en masse ages!) and the phases that Andrew and I will go through as a couple. It's good stuff though and I will try really hard to take it as it comes.
What have been your favorite seasons of life as a mom or a wife? Were you ever surprised that you actually loved your kids' middle school years even more than preschool? What mind tricks do you use to propel yourself through the colder seasons and back into spring?