Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I Take My Kids For Granted...Until I Don't

I take my kids for granted.

The smiles and laughs, the chubby legs, the curious fingers, the warm heads, the constantly moving bodies, the peaceful sleeping forms, the hugs. I take it all for granted.

The messes. The frustrations. The exhaustion. I take that for granted too.

Oh sure, I will be the first to say how much I love and appreciate them, but there is no sense of urgency there.

Until it is.

Until I set them on the path to walk toward the house like I have a million times before. Until I take my eyes off of them for thirty seconds while I pick up the three grocery bags out of the front seat of the car. Until I am standing in the driveway, holding my grocery bags, and not seeing their bobbing blond heads headed toward the house like I usually do. Until my frantically searching eyes spot them at the very bottom of the driveway, only a few steps away from an extremely busy road and fast moving traffic. (WHY did I ever want Addison to learn to run?)

I drop the groceries right were I was standing and begin to run- my swollen belly and creaky limbs all of a sudden turning into a smoothly oiled running machine. I have never run faster- with more urgency- with more fear. I hear Carter saying "CAR, car, CAR" while pointing and continuing directly toward the road with his sister by his side. The distance from the garage to the road has never seemed farther.

"STOP!" I yell. But they choose this moment to let all of our careful training go in one cute ear and out the other....decidedly more stubborn ear.

Because it's a downhill driveway, I pick up momentum and fear I might stumble and roll the rest of the down. Something catches me and propels me to them- just in time. I grab two hands, halt two bodies, and drag them back up the driveway while they fuss and yell at my meanness. Just then a car whizzes by- right where they were innocently standing a few seconds earlier.

I'm shaking. My heart is pounding. My children are oblivious to what almost just happened.

Considering how close we just came to tragedy, the ordinary suddenly takes on an extraordinary sparkle. My appreciation flames from a dull red into a bright red.

Dragging them the rest of the way up the driveway, setting them on the path to the house, directing them toward the door, helping them with the step up into the house...it all seems different this time.

When I talk to them about how extremely naughty and wrong that disobedience was- it is with deeper love. When I think about the mess that I still have to pick up from the morning's rush to get out the door- it is with thankfulness for the job. When I feed them their snack and get them off to bed for naps, it is with a heart bursting with appreciation for these tiny tasks that I took for granted just a half an hour before.

I take my kids for granted. I take my job as mother, nurturer, teacher, housemaid, cook, boo boo fixer, protector for granted.

Until I don't. Because I am sent a reminder that the present isn't guaranteed one second into the future. And it is to be savored for everything it is while it is still here.

Today I am thanking the Lord for my children and for his protection. I am keeping a close eye on the evil twinsies and disliking the constant danger that befalls the toddler stage.

Why is this perfect timing? Because tomorrow we board a plane for three hours. Just me and my kiddos. And all day week I have been thinking about how horribly it is going to go and how awful it is going to be to fly solo with them. Now? I am on pins and needles still...but thankful that they are here to take the trip with me. Now let's just hope they don't somehow manage to get run over by a plane....

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