My baby turned 2 last week. Instead of silently sobbing while I stuff torn KitKat wrappers under my pillow, I’m going back to a wisp of truth I caught for a moment and tried to nail down with words. It’s from years ago when my now-medium kids were littles. I’m hoping it will help me ponder my baby’s official exit of babyhood with accomplishment. And of course I’ll still shed a few sentimental tears while I stuff a completely appropriate amount of wrappers under my pillow.
At random moments in my day as I’m pouring milk into a sippy cup or wiping blueberries from chubby hands, an uncomfortable thought echoes in my mind: This phase of life will end. It won’t ask me whether I’m ready. I can’t change it if I’m not. I can’t request a meeting to explain my logical reasoning or my irrational feelings. “No extensions” is stamped in blaring red letters.
Toddlerhood has such a sweet flavor. Times of my daughter’s laughter bubbling forth at the smallest silliness and my son suggesting we throw our car in the junkyard and buy a rocket to get around town faster.
The blaring red letters loom on the horizon. My toddlers will become tweens who become teenagers. My teenagers will become college students who become adults. Please excuse me while I hyperventilate.
And as this list continues, their need for me gradually fades like an old photograph with curling corners (2015 edit: “like an old iPhoto file left out of the upload to cloud storage.”)
But the deepest laws of life – the binding roots of truth that we all feel the need to search for beneath the dusty layer of earthly trinkets – tell me it’s okay. They tell me I’m fulfilled as a mom because I love the individuals who are my children — not because of the role my kids provide me. As their talents and independence blossom I can only become more enthralled with seeing who they become.
This realization illuminated how my view of God can sometimes be hazy. Somewhere in the depths of my mind — in places where words don’t materialize and perceptions of life often go unconfronted — I unintentionally and quietly perceive that God created me in order to give Himself the All-Important-Need-Provider role. That His interest in me is because I am one more person whose comparison to Him shows His grandeur and significance.
The Bible stamps a blaring red “False” on that perception.
“He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
God created you and me because He is excited about the potential we have to add value to this world. He sees who you and I are becoming, and He is enthralled.
With every transition and milestone I will shower my kids with smiles and cheers, and years from now when my son visits at holidays and I kiss his scruffy cheek I will feel my toddler’s face beneath the whiskers. When my daughter has a baby of her own, I will remember her tiny hands reaching up for my face.
And I will cling to the truth that God is singing over you, me, my kids – all of us – with joy.