My little crew and I were meandering down our street on a beautiful crisp fall afternoon trying to survive the 4:00 hour. You know that hour. We were a sight to behold. Little bodies. Big bicycle helmets. M trying to navigate her scooter, and W picking up every. single. acorn, rock, leaf, or any other treasure he could find. Baby J was tucked safely and sleepily into the wrap, and so we walked. Slowly, purposefully and yet aimlessly at the same. The retired couple at the end of the street spotted us. The man grinned, and called to his wife “Here come the babies.” Our little crew in all its glory brought this man enough joy that he wanted to share it with his wife. It touched my heart. It made me smile to myself as I thought “If you had only seen us 5 minutes ago you might not have been so eager to greet us.” It also hit me like a ton of bricks, a wake up call to savor these precious days.
It hit me because no one has that reaction when they see teenagers coming down the street no matter how respectful, wonderful, or polite they are. No one calls out “Here come the teenagers!” Young children elicit a certain sense of joy and wonder from others that is unique to this delightfully trying and challenging time. There’s something about little people on a quest to navigate the big world that makes others pause, slow down, and celebrate that. And so in my head I heard, “You’ve got to slow down too.” Remember this. Be here.”
Because here is the only place I know how to be. My entire identity is wrapped up in these little people and these little moments. They belong to me, and I to them. A friend of mine recently confided in me that forever she had identified herself as a mom of young children. Her youngest is now 5, and so that’s no longer who she is. Her children are not young (so to speak) anymore, and she shared how hard it felt to let that part of her identity go. I get that. It’s a few years away for me, that realization, but being a mom of young children is such a gift. It’s like being a part of this special little club. A club where people smile when they see you walking down the street. A club where your purse is always full of cheerios and diapers. A club where it’s okay to lift up the hatch of your car while your child sits on the potty. A club where you answer countless questions like “Where does the sun go?” or “Can God see me?” A club where you find yourself counting the minutes until dinner time/bath time/bedtime. A club that tests every ounce of your physical and mental stamina. A club with meetings that feel like they go on forever in years that pass by way too quickly.
I’m so glad to be where I am. I’m so glad to be part of this team that brings people joy, that gives people pause, and that makes people smile. It’s who I am. It’s where I am. It’s a privilege, and for that I am grateful.
Find the joy~