Friday, November 6, 2015

Nostalgic Glances

There's a face that older people give you when you walk by them with small children. It's a mix of nostalgia touched with joy. You can see in their faces that they would love to trade places with you, even it if was just for a moment. They would love to go back in time and sit with their daughter during a tea party one last time. They wish they could get in a tickle fight with their little boy again, just to hear his giggles. I always seem to get those looks from people on days that I would give anything to trade places with them.

It happens on the days that I have tried to put four cups in the dishwasher for a full hour but can't seem to get it done because my daughter dumped out her applesauce all over the carpet or my sons are fighting over who has rights over that shriveling balloon from last week's birthday party. As I work to scrub the carpet and mediate the fight, my daughter will inevitably empty some drawer or cabinet that I didn't baby proof. I sigh then put on a fake smile as I sing the clean up song to help her learn to clean up her own messes. I walk away, proud that I didn't lose my cool and I think, "I really need to baby proof that drawer." Before the thought is done, I find a toilet that is covered in pee from the seat to the floor thanks to little boys with bad aim. I call them in, hand them the Lisol wipes and guide them in their clean up efforts.

I make them take a walk because I simply cannot handle the thought of one more mess. We pass a sixty something that smiles that gentle nostalgic smile. "Beautiful children," she says wistfully. I look at them again, this time with new eyes. Eyes with perspective. I notice my daughter's tiny curls bouncing as she runs and my heart wells up with love. I see my four year old peeling over in laughter over a badly told knock knock joke and absorb his joy. I watch my six year old laying on the sidewalk inspecting a millipede that has caught his interest and am overcome with thankfulness for his inquisitive mind. For the first time that day, I really see them.

I find myself praying, "Sweet Lord, help me to really see them every day. Help me to realize that there will come a day when I will have the cleanest house on the block but I will not have those curls, that laugh, and that mind around me every day. Help me to rejoice in this season rather than weather it. Help me to reach out to you when I feel like I simply cannot do this without screaming or crying or both. And thank you, God. Thank you for the gift of these children and for the gift of perspective. It changes everything. Amen."

Are you feeling as if you need some perspective today? Ask God to give it to you. Ask him to help you zoom out and see the bigger picture. Ask him to show you the blessings rather than the hardship. He will and it will change everything.

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