Rarely are we given something as priceless as children. If kids were fine china, we would tuck them in a special cabinet behind a protective window. We have something of infinitely more value, but get so caught up in the mundane that we miss the wonder of it all. We like to say we "have" kids, but in reality, we "receive" them. They are entrusted to us; we are their parents, but also their stewards.
Tonight I stayed up way too late to finish reading My Sister's Keeper, which details a family's battle with their child's cancer. As I was sitting here reading, I had to fight the urge to go check on my kids. To put my hand on their backs, to feel their chest rise with breath. I love tucking them in at night, feeling their little heads beneath my hand, giving them one last kiss in the little sweaty fold of their neck while they lay on their tummies. I breathe deep, smelling little boy smell...a little dirt, a little ice cream, sometimes shampoo.
Time has a sneaky way of erasing things we think we will never forget...the weight of a baby's bottom in our arms as we nurse, the scent of a newborn, even the way their little voices sound and the funny words they make up. My older kids are 17, 21, and 22, and it hurts me to say that I know I've forgotten things I was sure I would never forget.
Some of these precious memories are given back. When my oldest daughter holds her daughter, I am reminded of my first years as a mom. But even now, I marvel at how fast time passes. Treasure it, I want to shout. Even knowing all I know, it is so hard sometimes to live in the moment, appreciating how fleeting it really is.
Tonight, my six-year-old wanted me to come out after dinner and play baseball with him. I can still see his little face looking through the screen door, watching me finish up the dishes. He said, "I know cleaning up is more important than playing. I'll wait."
I turned off the water and went outside. We played until it was too dark to see the ball.