Coming on the heels of planning a double-birthday party and preparing for a 3,000 mile road trip with 3 kids, wrapping up a homeschool year and prepping for a month away from work — organization, purging, simplifying has been at the top of my list.
But in all of my hustle and bustle and checking off tasks, I find myself stopping and wondering, seeing both behind and ahead.
I look at my now 6-year old, her legs growing longer and her ideas growing deeper, and I wonder where the past 6 years have gone, wonder if I’ve missed them in the sleepless nights of pregnancy and nursing and toddlers crawling into my bed. Was I too preoccupied to capture the wonder of everyday living?
Of course it’s easy to look back and see how I could have done better – hindsight is 20/20. In the moment – the everyday living – wonder feels lost in days that feel like a tooth and nail cat fight, just clawing to get through: the busyness, the boredom, the one more game of Candy Land or if I have to tell you one more time. Some days the training feels endless and I wonder if I’ve come to the end of myself.
But now she’s 6 and another baby coming and I don’t want anything to keep me from savoring the days I’m given with her. Because they feel shorter and already she needs me less, and one day soon she’ll be driving off with her friends, her electric smile spread wide across her beautiful face.
I want to love her well today.
How do I become so busy, so preoccupied, so distracted from her? Why do I major on the minors and hold her to a standard no 6-year old could attain? What causes me to so often veer away from love and camp out with expectation?
Organizing my house has been useful, but purging my heart is paramount. Because I don’t want to miss these days, these opportunities, this girl.
Maybe that means not writing, not achieving, not pursuing so many other things. Or maybe it’s fewer activities and plans and playdates in the book. Because maybe loving her well today means pursuing her now, chasing the heart of my daughter and making more space for her to be her and us to grow.
Maybe the simplifying should be more than the toys and the clothes and the physical space of our home – maybe I need simplicity of heart and thought and cluttered schedule — more margin to allow my heart to be more full, more for her.
Original photo of little girl: Mike Baird, Flickr Creative Commons, text all mine.