I read about a church that handed out marbles to parents in their congregation. Each marble represented a weekend that their child still had left at home until they left for college. So, for a 4th grader…a jar with 468 marbles. A 9th grader…208 marbles. If it didn’t make my head hurt I would calculate my kindergarten jar. And I’ll just use the term “large jar” for my one-year old.
I was unaware of much around me as I underwent the “normal” but crazy routine of taking my three small children to the bathroom in a public restroom. Despite of my kids’ obedience there is still a wrangling, a struggle of sorts. It was taking all of my attention…and apparent energy accomplishing this everyday task. A woman beyond my years quietly walked over, touched my arm and said, “I miss the shoes. When my children were younger I was always frustrated with the shoes that were endlessly piled and strewn. Now I miss the shoes.” Then she walked away. (I love when older women…and men, most often strangers, take the time to offer perspective…and with it wisdom with age.)
It’s the constant for a mother. These precious beings are entrusted to her but they can quickly become seen as little “obstacles” sent to obstruct each task needing to get done. I’ve never watched it but I love the short of the new show, “Up All Night” where the parents are attempting to dress their baby and it escalates into the mother screaming, “I’M ON YOUR SIDE. STOP FIGHTING ME!”
And so each time these little children, being little children, rub up against my character as it’s being chiseled and formed with each task. It’s every day, full of grind…it’s so much the constant that I have begun to pray that there are enough marbles left to deal with me.
Help me to enjoy the colors of the crayons everywhere on the kitchen floor…smile at another poured cup…find joy in directing a distracted child. I must remember that although my jars of marbles still look very full, if I broke them down to ages, of Sela as a three-year old, Ethan as a toddler and Sammi wanting to spend so much time with me, I have very few left.