It was a bitterly cold, cloudy afternoon. It had been a regular homeschool day, complicated by bad news from the plumber’s visit. Kids had scattered to their rooms and all around the house. The lingering effects of a cold virus threatened to overwhelm me with self-pity. I shuffled into the kitchen to heat a cup of leftover coffee, sniffling and favoring the ribs sore from coughing.
I had been out of town two weekends in a row, and was in a reflective mood. There’s nothing like being away from home to help you appreciate being home.
To top it off, I had just read the heartbreaking story of a college basketball player who died in a plane crash ten years ago. Read it and see if it doesn’t make you hug your babies closer.
At that moment I decided to exercise my right as a sentimental Mom. The nearest child in the kitchen was sent to call in the troops. They thought I was going to assign a chore or check an assignment.
Instead, voice breaking, I told them that I wanted everyone to stay in the room with me the rest of the afternoon.
I didn’t explain that in the blink of an eye they would all be grown and living somewhere else. I left out the part where I admit that my lifelong pattern of relationships has been so shaped by the fear of rejection that I’ve often retreated into a shell.
They looked at me, momentarily startled, and then hurried to gather supplies. Out came the blankets and drinks, as everyone snuggled in to listen for an afternoon of reading aloud.
I was struck to the heart with gratefulness for their willingness to spend time with me when I asked.
And in the same moment, I was struck by how few times I ask.
We spent some pleasant hours around a crackling fire, sharing an adventure in medieval France. One of them posted on Facebook “Big fluffy blanket, warm corn cozy, mom reading aloud, fire in the fireplace… Perfect.” A grown sibling commented “Wish I was there.” Be still, my heart.
I was reminded again that today is our life, and today we are making tomorrow’s memories. Maybe we can’t spend every afternoon reading aloud by the fire, but we can be intentional about taking time every day to connect.
As mothers we hold the key to the atmosphere in our homes. My heart regrets the times when atmosphere and connection and relationships were neglected for things I thought were important. But I have today and I am changed, and God is in the business of restoration.
Listen to that little voice that tells you to appreciate the time with your children. Spend a day of grace with your family. Put away the expectations and perfectionism, and see how precious the time really is.
The day ended with takeout pizza and homemade chocolate cake and some episodes of Duck Dynasty. What began as an “off” day, with plumbing problems and boring phonics and an aching body, transformed into a comforting, heartwarming day of grace. Staying wrapped in my misery would have caused me to miss it.
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