Now that I have my sweet family, I find myself longing for the intense, selfless time to end. There is no me, it seems. I especially daydream about the day when my husband will finally retire from the military and stop going on deployments to the Middle East.
I was praying about all of that one day, and this is what I got from that conversation with God: "You are wishing and longing to be an elderly woman. Who does that?"
God's got a point there. People who are always longing for another season or time, are always longing for another season or time. I remind myself of the old fable about the fellow who was given a magic ball of thread. When something unpleasant happened, or things weren't going his way, he could cut a little piece of thread and speed up time, so that he wouldn't have to suffer or endure anything difficult. He began doing this so often that he very quickly came to the end of his life. He was granted another wish at that point and, remorseful, he wished that he could start his life all over again, but this time never speed it up.
I've spent much of the first half of my life longing for the now to be over but not anymore. I don't want to wish for a time when there is no potty training, no teenage spiritual warfare, no glops of goo on my kitchen counter. Right now is chaotically wonderful. My children bring me to life. I'm tired, but I am always singing and laughing. The nun song from Sound of Music is my favorite one to belt out until they beg me to stop. I'm so humbly grateful for any time at all alone with my husband that I find anything we do together, eat, talk about, to be completely delightful. I'm so utterly grateful.
I got a big chuckle the other day when I read about monks in the Middle Ages who, as their Highly Devoted Service To God, cut themselves off from society and lived solitary lives on some grassy hill. Not impressed. Those guys were living the dream, as far as I'm concerned. Give me some of that solitary grassy hill. Mothers don't have a moment to themselves.
My life seems to be 99 percent sacrifice and one percent personal pleasure. I've been interrupted what feels like 37 times just in this paragraph, to kiss boo-boos, fix hair, discipline naughtiness, smile at my husband while I answered his question and comfort sad people. That is my right now and so that's where I have to end up finding joy. Jesus said whoever would be great among you would be the servant of all.
Even my five year old, who at this moment is asking me to make homemade play dough with her, has said that God gave her a Mommy because He loves her. She tells me, "Mommy, you're completely gor-juth." My two year old sits in my lap and looks at me adoringly, puts her hands around my face and says, "Mommy pwetty." She has also said, "Mommy gumpy," but that's okay.
A very sweet friend of mine, Sharon, whose children are now grown, told me that she had a guest over to her house one day. The guest, who has five children but wasn't me I promise, complimented Sharon on how clean her house was. Sharon said, "I'd rather have five children like you." Sharon understands the beauty and loveliness of motherhood. She understands the value of embracing that phase of life and the trade-off of a messy house that comes along with it.
Life is right now. Whatever phase of life I'm in, I don't want to spend today longing for tomorrow. Thank heaven no one gave me a magic ball of thread when I was a girl. I'd be 98 years old today. And wishing I was 43 again.