The words just wouldn’t come. I agreed to write five devotions on motherhood and the deadline was fast approaching. But I couldn’t seem to wrap my thoughts around what I was trying to say. The more I typed, the more flustered I became. They were due Monday morning and I could feel the pressure mounting. I pleaded with the children to play outside in hopes of finishing just one complete thought.
Minutes later I heard their laughter and strategic plans to venture to the creek. First they’d stop deep in the woods at the barn that still lingers of tobacco. And then with BB guns in tow, they’d trek up the hill and past the deer tracks.
I pecked at the computer about the privilege of motherhood and the importance of building a solid foundation. And I lingered as I read:
Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. Proverbs 22:6 (The Message)
With a sigh, I turned the computer off and pushed my chair under the desk. It would have to wait. The words came later, they always do. But in that moment, motherhood was about playing. It didn’t require deep theology or over thinking or imaginative alliterations, it didn’t even require lip gloss. It just required time. Time to explore acres of old farmland, skip rocks in a muddy creek and collect leaves in the deep woods of our backyard.
And being a mother in that moment was far better than writing about it.
My kids love music. It resonates from room to room in our home. Recently J took Gracie and Garrett to a couple of concerts to hear their favorite musicians … Meredith Andrews, Britt Nichole, Mike’s Chair and some others.
They saw the faces of the people that echo through their Ipods on a daily basis. In their world, it’s a big deal.
Voices are powerful. Whether they’re sung, said, whispered or shouted. Whether they come from parents, friendships, strangers or people you’ve just met.
Gracie and Garrett heard Meredith Andrews sing these lyrics:
And this is the new song we sing
To the King of Heaven
This is the new song we bring
After all you’ve given
We stand before you redeemed
As your children,
This is the new song we sing
I hope those words are tattooed on their hearts far longer than an afternoon at a summer concert.
I watch her pick him up. He puts his head on her shoulder. He knows he’s safe in her arms.
She checks on him between church and Sunday School. She fills up his juice cup; she worries he may run out.
She lets him pilfer through her things. And she can tell you his favorite meal and what songs he bounces up and down to.
They share a room and she wakes up to his loud shrills. I often hear her from the den lovingly say, “good morning”.
His vocabulary consists of only a few words, but these two have a language of their own.
I ran into the grocery store like I owned the place. At nine years old, I was full of life and energy. I was yet to be concerned about boys and makeup and posture. I darted past a row of canned vegetables and headed straight back to the silver swinging door to find my grandfather. He was the popular butcher at our small town IGA in South Carolina. I threw my arms around his thick waist, not to be bothered by his blood stained apron.
He immediately put me to work. He handed me a roll of red stickers that boasted “Today’s Special!” and gave me the job of placing them on the poultry lined alongside the refrigerated wall.
When I was done, I pretended to be an Alaskan Eskimo living inside the walk in freezers and then later made igloos out of boxes piled high in the nearby storage room.
The grocery store was better than any playground in town.
As the years passed so did my endearing thoughts of the place where I weekly shop. I prefer getting in and out as quickly as possible. Until recently, with a camera in hand my daughter started snapping away, right in the freezer section. With sour cream on one side and ice cream on the other, we laughed ‘til our cheeks hurt. My magical childhood days at the grocery store have come and gone, but it was fun to be a part of hers for an afternoon.
I found my eleven year old daughter barefoot, sitting indian style on the warm grass. I joined her. We began snapping green beans picked out of our garden the day before. The week had been demanding and we seemed to be running in different directions. Even when we were together we were focused on scheduling the next day, the next event and how to work out the logistics. VBS, ballgames, spending time with friends from out of town, our hectic calendar was leaving us disconnected.
So we sat and talked as the sun beat down on our backs. We sidestepped all the big subjects that seem to rise when we’re alone, things that can’t be discussed in front of her brothers. Instead, we laughed about funny friendships and peculiar boys. In the middle of our yard, we connected. And if it’s possible, I fell in love with her just a little bit more.