My precious little children, all grown up. Sarah, Nathan, Joy and Joel.
Today I have been bustling around town, treasure hunting for mouth-watering treats, rousing games, intriguing movies, and anything that I think would add to soul-deep memories of my family. The Clarksons are traipsing off to the mountains this weekend, Breckenridge to be exact. We associate this place with family, hilarity, hiking, outdoor jacuzzis under the stars in 25 degree weather and years of investing in these places and these traditions together, when all were younger and we were a whole family, all together. There is not much time these days to get everyone together, and so we make the time for each other, intentionally, especially in the midst of our busyness to say, “I need time alone with just family,” in the midst of all the other activities of this stage of life.
But this time, only the girls will be with Clay and me. I will miss my tall, young idealistic boys who are out to make their way in the world. As I have been driving to all the stores on my list, I was reflecting on what I would do if I had it to do over again–to make sure they all really heard and experienced the messages my heart, that wanted to imprint on theirs.
I would stop in the midst of my chores to listen to a boy-joke being shared and I would laugh out-loud and tell them they were so much fun.
I would stop unloading the groceries when my husband is talking to me and look deeply into his eyes and listen to what he is saying, communicating with my whole self, “You are such a treasure to me. I want to know what you are thinking and feeling and dreaming.”
I would take the moment to tossle a head as I am passing through a room and say, “I am so blessed to have you as my very own child. You make me so happy, just being you.”
I would stop what I am doing, to go outside to look at a “treasure” when I hear, “Hey, Mama, come look!”–an apple blossom blooming on our very first apple tree or a worm on the grass or whatever had capture their curiosity. I would camp more outside on our deck and cuddle up under the sleeping bags more often to marvel at the stars and the one who made them.
I would open my eyes to take a snapshot of today–just as it is–with boy noises, loud discussions, toys being played with intently, piano being practiced, thoughts being shared, messes coming and going..
Instead of giving advice when a child is opening their heart through tears, I would listen with a sorrowful, sympathetic heart and take seriously what they were feeling, instead of mentally planning that the clothes in the dryer need to be folded.
I would laugh more, worry less, lecture only on rare occasions, overlook messes instead of wasting my time being neurotic, notice the fingerprints of my maker in the moments of my days, and cherish those few years when we were all home, together, being the Clarksons and celebrating life.
So, this weekend, as we getaway in the mountains, I will engage my heart in storing up pictures of the precious ones still here. I will listen, love, wash dishes and mugs happily and live fully in the few moments remaining before this season flies quickly into another season, and I will never be able to live this day well again.
And I will email my boys and “I love you and miss you” note, to tell them how very much they mean to me, how I believe in them and in their futures–which do have a hope, and how blessed I am to have them as my very own sons.