None of the Above

When Little Dreams Come True

Can I just encourage you for a moment? Your tears and prayers and wondering are not lost on Him.

I sat with a friend a few years ago, both teary eyed. Maybe it was exhaustion, maybe hopeful mourning. Our pictures for what we wanted as young moms of babies weren’t our realities. Bible study and play time. Small group with childcare, getting to know neighbors, full houses.

It’s happening.

We rearranged. We prayed. We pleaded. We listened. It’s happening.

D and I decided to move to a bigger house mere blocks away from the old one and we said it would be used well. I host playgroup at my house twice a month, this week was nine moms and 15 kids under four. WHAT? Six months ago it didn’t exist. This is full of strangers and friends and neighbors.

Our church moms bible study had to multiply into two! They have  women sharing, and crying, and learning together. With kids playing at our feet. These moms are reading and doing this Bible study every day. They’re coming ready to talk about it. Do you know how hard that is? With little kids and constant interruptions and not huge amounts of sleep? It’s literally a miracle-same as changing water to wine.

We started hosting our small group and this week we have 15 kids and 18 adults. What?? The kicker is we have two babysitters and a quiet conversation between adults. If you’re a mom you know this is a coveted sixty minutes!

I love my house don’t get me wrong but it is a sacrifice. Our mortgage is way higher, finances tighter, dreams of private school for my kids aren’t going away. But gosh it’s worth it all. My house is overflowing with the kind of things she and I lamented, and got teary eyed over. Our toddlers are coming home from church telling us what they learned, singing songs about God before they even know Him. Our friends and neighbors are filling our houses and our children’s childhood with fun and laughter and company. Their moms are having a few minutes for adult conversation between diapers and correcting and picking up soggy animal crackers.

If you are dreaming and getting teary and wondering I beg of you to not let your first choice to be giving up or moving on. I would have missed it all. I was let in on a process and I would have missed the whole thing. I get to show up thankful and not entitled. It’s not easy, and my house is always a mess but it is so, so good.

If this post sounds like I did it alone it’s because I didn’t want to tag people. A few of us were added to the already great team of people doing this well. I’m telling you, WE rearranged. WE prayed. WE pleaded. WE listened. It’s happening.

None of the Above

Tears in the Kitchen

Elle and D dance together daily. Sometimes they slow dance, sometimes lots of twirls. Either way it’s the absolute sweetest thing to watch. Tonight he had a song on repeat that he’s practicing for leading worship at our church this Sunday. I happened to be holding Jay in the kitchen so I figured we’d join in. Within five seconds, Jay started kissing me. He does it constantly; I’ll be holding him and he wraps his arms around my neck, starts squealing “mama” and kisses my cheeks over and over. We have quite the love affair going. Anyway-we’re five seconds in, he’s kissing my cheek, and I start SOBBING.

There is this intense love that is reserved for mommies and their boy babies and I was in the middle of all the feelings. I was just dancing with this sweet baby and picturing us in 20 or 30 years dancing at his wedding. Oh, I pray that God would allow me that joy one day! Ill likely be sobbing then, too and remembering today, the first time I slow danced with the second boy who stole my heart and just wrecked me in all the best ways.

  (Elle asking D to dance with her. Yes, she’s wearing a Minnie Mouse dress. She picks her own clothes out now! If you want to hear what torture sounds like try to put a pair of pants on her. “I want to be a giiiiiiirl, I need a dress, I want my tights. I want my yellow tutu”. The list goes on.)

Anyway, I was reminded for the millionth time since having kids that my life is a series of blinks. I blinked and Elle was walking, then talking, then a thousand other things. I blinked and Jay was born, I blinked and he started kissing me, I’m going to blink and be dancing at his wedding. My whole childhood felt like an eternity and the end goal felt like it was to marry my hubs. I snagged him then blinked and we’re six years, two kids, and two houses later.

I think what I’m getting at in a quite longwinded way is I’m desperate to get to the blinks because they contain sheer joy but at the end of my life I think I’ll be more worried about what I did for the tiny milliseconds that my eyes were closed. The space between.

Over the past several months I’ve been pondering in my theology what it would look like to love strangers the way I love my kids. I’m convinced that is the closest I can be in living like Christ. My kids could literally do nothing to make me love them less. No choice, lifestyle, opinion could make me love them less. Not an ounce. Needless to say it’s changed my political beliefs dramatically but I think it’s also changed the way I look at people.

Over the past few years I feel like I’ve gone through a transformation regarding minimalism and living simply, through learning to be a parent to babies and what it looks like to live missionally as a mother but now it’s reaching who we invite into our lives on purpose . How can I love strangers? How can my life look different? How can we be more generous?

It’s also made me think more strategically about my role in life as a woman. I’m not the biggest feminist in the world but I certainly am all for equal rights whether that’s in the work place or in a relationship. At the same time, I’m not promised the same luxury as my husband in many situations. He told me yesterday he purchased dinner for a homeless man while he was getting gas. I told him I can’t do it but I’m so glad he did. I don’t live in a world that I feel comfortable buying a (male) stranger food when I don’t know his mental state. Will he think I’m flirting? Will I make it back to my car safely? If my kids are with me will he say something to me that I’d  consider innapropriate and what will their experience be?

It’s a bizarre thing being a woman in this time in history. Wanting to do more than is safe, wanting to teach my kids to love strangers by example but constantly measuring the cost.

The only thing I’m sure of in this rabbit trail is that our blinks don’t match up. My kids and husband and strangers we have yet to meet are all remembering different things, experiencing different turning points, and I don’t want to be caught in fear or contemplation and not be present in a blnk. I want to be an active participant, loving well, having an open home and checkbook no matter what. My kids may feel like their childhoods were long and I hope they remember them sweetly, and like their mommy contributed to the blinks.