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Something About Seven

unsplash: patricia prudente

There is just something that my heart can't take about the age of seven.

Somewhere between the final days of summer and the first few weeks of first grade, my seven year old has grown up.  She stands in the balance of playful and silly and suddenly so independent, inquisitive, and Christ-seeking.  Not just having the words of the Lord in her mind, but written upon her heart and radiating through her actions.  It's like she just gets it. 

I look at her and I can't help but wonder just how limited my days are with this innocence, this purity, this genuine joy and optimism.  It's funny how I so quickly regret the ways I spent the last seven years, instantly wishing I had listened to all of those wisdom-filled women who lovingly smiled as they told me, "Enjoy it because it goes by way too fast." 

This phrase always irked me at the time because I wondered what made them feel like I wasn't enjoying those days?  What made it so obvious that I was, in fact, looking forward to the days of independence and diaper free living?  They were so right.  These days do go at lightening speed.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that it wasn't me or anything that I was radiating.  I think these women who were so full of wisdom truly understood because they once wore my shoes.  They, too, remember hoping the daunting days would pass so much more quickly than they were seeming to, but as their children aged, they realized that those were the most beautiful and perfect days of their lives.  They look with eyes all too knowing of what is to come in this life of parenthood.  

When we are in those early years, we seem to sacrifice everything.  Our time, our sleep, warm meals, our beds, our bodies, our total being. Almost everything about our lives is pushed to the side as we raise our littles and while it fills us with such joy, many of those days were filled with what I called emptiness.  Today, my perspective of that emptiness shifts to seeing the fullness that I was actually experiencing throughout those long, long days.

Life really is all about perspective, huh?  Because I realize today, that this.  This life right here, in late-November of 2016, is limited.  Days of sisters playing creatively, role playing with their Playmobil, running through the park in our neighborhood pretending to be kids lost in a foreign world, donning backpacks and creating fake fire pits, it will all end sooner than it began.

My heart cannot handle this thought.  

As the years passed staying home, seven to be exact, I have felt lonely as I searched for a further sense of being.  Being a mother, somehow, just never seemed to be enough.  Now, looking at my changing, evolving, aging seven year old and I desperately search for a pause button.  Even on many days, a rewind button.  This really is the best age. 

The world jades us and our children are only given a limited time to live in the bliss of a perfect world before that all becomes rushing to a halt, sometimes in one fell swoop:  the loss of someone important, being bullied or witnessing bullies, stripped innocence in unfathomable ways, being exposed to the darkness that this world is consumed with.  We provide for and protect them the best that we can, but to protect them from the reality of the world only harms them in the long run.

Knowing that these days are increasingly more limited stills my soul in a way that cannot be described.

I remind myself not to be consumed with what the future will bring, but to be present in the today.  These are the days in which my affection, my encouragement, my support are the most pivotal.  In these years of change, these years of recognizing pain from the outside world, my role is even more important than ever.  She needs to know that I am always here.  That I understand.  That I will listen and that I will never, ever let go.

So to my sweet girl, who is changing in the most beautiful and tear-jerking of ways, I want you to know that I will absolutely never let you go.  When you make decisions that break my heart, when you come home broken, when we disagree, when we don't understand one another, nothing will ever make me stop loving you.  This world will hurt you and there will be times where my love isn't enough to get you through, but I will always, always try.  

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