I simply can NOT believe my daughter is going to the 4th grade. Just can’t believe it. When did she get so tall? When did she stop being a preschooler? 1st grader? 3rd grader?
While the latter part of my blog posts here have been about transition, I’ve not mentioned how more shocked I am at how fast my kiddos are growing than about the physical changes around us (i.e.- the move). And now that we are finally settling into the west coast and starting to really get into life here, my focus has shifted from attempting to help my children adjust to the move as much as possible, to the reality shock that they have just grown up megalots in the past 3 months.
I’m not sure if I mentioned this in my last post or not, but a few weeks ago Ny started to really get into cooking with me. Every time I’m in the kitchen she wants to help. I just didn’t realize she’d start taking over so soon! She cooked up a whole batch of pancakes on her own and made my coffee. Wow. Can she really be nine already?
I’m also finding that the less cluttered I feel about everyday life and the more streamlined I am on the homefront, the more I have time to notice the smallest changes in my kids. Changes like the fact that Z is 3 and a half, but going through a “baby stage” (requesting baby food, wanting to watch “Potty Power” even though she’s been potty trained for nearly two years now, suddenly not wanting to sleep on her own). And I’ve been noticing more how patient Ny is with her little sister, but how she so desperately needs space of her own (maybe her own room? We shall see). These little things I’m noticing are so small they barely seem to make a difference…but oh, they really do!
I dunno…how do I explain this?
Out here on the Central Coast, we have this little climate issue that translates to lots of FOG for us. The fog usually comes in early in the morning and burns off close to noon. But in the Pacific Grove area, sometimes the fog rarely seems to lift and most of our summer days are not only on the side of chilly but overcast and foggy.
So, I say all that to say this: it’s as if I’ve spent the last 8 years or so in a fog. Not the kind of fog where you literally don’t know where you’re going, but a different kind. The kind of fog where you have plans and ambitions and goals and desires, and you are trying so hard to get there. I mean, after all, it’s for you and your family’s benefit so it must be okay right? Only it’s not so okay when the ambitions fog up your path and you can’t see where you’re going anymore for the lack of clarity.
I feel as though these last four months in California have been a time of clarity for me. The fog has been lifting and I’ve been able to see past my own desires and finally for once, really see the people around me. Like my own family. Like my kids and their significant growth. Like my husband and his needs. Like people down the street. Like people at the grocery stores. People at church. People on the bus. People everywhere. I see people every day who are angry and bitter or lonely…sad…or even simply lost. Lost in a world where it seems nobody cares. The weird thing is that it’s like an experience where I feel that I get a 2 second glimpse into their lives and I am drawn into their emotional world. I feel it, but then only for a second or two. I’m sure God has a plan and He wants me to pray. So I say a silent prayer for them. But maybe there is more?
I don’t know…but I am sensing a wind of change for God’s people all over the world. Something significant is about to happen in the lives of Believers…and God is going to use us to bring hope and joy and peace…and the Answer. But we just have to be willing to allow the fog of everyday life to clear up a bit so that we have the clarity and peace we need to minister to others.
I want that so badly! Every true-at-heart mama in the universe knows the pressures of every day life, because now we don’t live for ourselves anymore. I was talking to my own mother the other night, about how having children has made me less selfish. We give and give and give to our kids until we have nothing left…and we would do it all over again in a heartbeat. There is just something very special about a mother’s heart. She’ll do anything (even neglect her own needs/deprive herself) to ensure her own children have what they need.
Sometimes in the midst of giving and doing, planning our weeks, shuttling the kids to activities, grocery shopping and meal planning, cleaning house, cooking meals, caring FOR the kids, (and then if you homeschool…well…there goes more energy, time and effort), we can find ourselves utterly lost in that same “fog” I mentioned earlier. I mean, it’s amazing to me how that even doing the right things sometimes can result in overload and burnout. But is that ever God’s intention- for us to be burnt out while doing good? So this scripture I was reading answered that one for me:
Galatians 6:9 NKJV “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”
So, the thing is not to become weary (or caught up) in our daily activities to the point where we get spun out of shape, confused, or in just a great big fog of life. The “fog” robs us of being able to clearly see the people around us and their needs because we’re so super busy. I think even we mamas can use that reminder from time to time…and to remember to stay encouraged. If you’re in the “foggy” season where you feel that, well to be quite blunt, there is no end to the mound of diapers surrounding you- well, in a nutshell, don’t give up! This too will pass. It’s just a season, a phase of life, and the Lord has promised to strengthen you through it. But keep on doing good for your family. And if you feel that you don’t have the clarity you need to see the roses from the trees, ask the Lord to lift the fog away from you so that you can better connect with your loved ones (and not only serve them). There is a difference. Once the fog is lifted, it’s as if after all the years of doing so much for a child (changing their diapers, kissing their scraped knees, dressing them, feeding them, teaching them, shuttling them about town) suddenly comes to a momentary halt as you look at this child you created and realize they are a person waiting to connect with you on a level beyond rudimentary needs. Here is this complex being- a social, emotional, psychological, spiritual being staring back at you with deep, meaningful eyes, waiting on you to connect with her soul and lead her spiritually.
That goes way deeper than figuring out which summer camps in which to place your kids. When the fog lifts, suddenly so much of what we’ve been doing with our children seems so extravagantly superficial.
Fun, yes! But not of ultimate importance.
By all means, have FUN with your kids! Go places with them, do stuff together. I would never trade in a million years the Disney trip we took a few weeks ago. We created beautiful memories together. But my point is…once all the planning is over and you’re back at home looking at each other again, now’s the time to connect soul to soul. And I do think that in our busy world it’s so easy to neglect the smallest things.
I hope I remember to always take time to breathe, relax, and connect with my family. And keep that fog away.