Post By: Angela Parlin
He smiled from ear to ear, with a patch of fuzzy hair standing straight up on top of his five-year-old head. Big eyes twinkling, he grabbed my hand from behind the kitchen sink and led me out to the back deck.
“Stay RIGHT there, Mom. I gotta show you something you’re gonna LOVE!”
He descended the stairs, filling the air with his mile-wide smile.
I stood there spilling tears under the sky on a windy Friday afternoon, because some days, I start to understand. These are the days of my life, and they aren’t always easy. I often don’t want them to play out the way they do.
But these off-schedule, messy, monotonous days are always full of beauty—and God gives us the opportunity to choose to see it.
Will we choose to celebrate the beauty found in our own right here, right now?
Sometimes I realize how much I miss. I don’t always enjoy the little gifts in my life, because I’m focused on my to-do lists. Or I’m honed in on my plans and the way they should go. Or I’m fixated on some disappointment. I need these stop-everything moments. I need this reminder–to celebrate the little things.
He climbed up on the green swing seat and asked me if I was ready. He asked if I was watching.
“Go ahead, honey. I’m watching. I’m ready!”
Then my last little tiny, who’s growing way too fast, started pumping his legs back and forth, keeping his eyes on me. I cheered, like he’d crossed the finish line of his first marathon.
And I cried. Because he’s adorable and he’s smart and he’s taller now and his feet can reach and when did I miss him working on the swing?
So many times, I’d pushed him back and forth in that spot, encouraging him to pump his little legs, so that when I walked away, he could keep on swinging. So many times, he just didn’t even want to. He wanted me to push him instead.
Not this day. This day he felt the thrill of figuring it out on his own, of kicking up dirt and swinging high into the air. All by his big self.
So I stood there swinging between pride and joy, but also fear and loss.
I know I’m going to miss these days, and I don’t like that feeling. To fix it, I want to try to be present for every ordinary sliver of daily life with each of my kids. I want to save them all up and hold them in my heart forever.
Of course, every is impossible. Right? We’re only human, and we will miss things. We can make an effort to be present with our people, but there will still be limitations.
One day, we will miss this–and there’s nothing we can do to change that.
What comes next will also be sweet. But it will be different. So today? Let’s love the opportunities God gives us. Let’s ask Him to fill our hearts with wisdom, as the psalmist prayed.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12, NIV
While lost in thoughts about seeing beauty and living fully and all that is to come in our lives, my little man asked a question I’ll never forget.
“Isn’t it FUN to watch me swing, Mom?”
Oh, buddy. You have no idea. I LOVE to watch you swing.
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Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.