I know when a baby is a baby – from the moment of conception. But just when does a baby lose its baby status? Is it when the sweet little giggle doesn’t come quite so easily? Or when the short, chubby legs take their first steps? Maybe it’s when you no longer need to kiss the boo-boos to make it all better. Or when tiny little teeth start to protrude.
Does a baby grow up when he’s able to smear pureed bananas on his face? Or when she knows how to chatter ‘mama’ and ‘dada’? Maybe a baby is no longer a baby when she can put her princess panties on all by herself. Or when he can brush his own teeth.
When the sippy cups lose their lids, and car seats become boosters, is that when a baby is no longer a baby? Does a baby grow up when he can read his first sentence, or when she can tie her own shoes?
“It goes by so fast.” “Treasure these times.” “They grow like weeds.” “He’s not a baby anymore.” “What a big girl!”
To a mother, a baby will always be their baby.
I stared at my eyes in the mirror. Flecks of sunlight and shadow dancing in cool pools of tropical water, rippling over the smooth pebbles. Constant change, yet the same, since birth. Bright-eyed and dreaming, or wet and red, these eyes give me the world.
They can only see what is in front of me. Images flashing, embedded memories, faint shadows of the past gone. And now? Soak it in, wash over me, let me linger one moment longer. Then it’s done. Did I remember to smile? Did I savor each second? What fraction of life did I perceive?
Let it be good. Let it be happy. Help my eyes see like Yours. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
The darkness is gone. Spring has finally burst forth into full bloom. The sun shines brighter and longer, leaving an afterglow on the rainbow of flowers. As the sniffles and coughs die away, out come the shorts and dirty shoes. So much to hope for, brightness, light, beauty, peace. A renewed energy emerges from hibernation, no longer stifled by the cold and rain. This is the most joyful time of year. Jesus brings us the hope of salvation as the stone is rolled away. Life is immediately transformed from sorrow to joy, ashes to beauty, pain to peace. Not just on Easter, but for all eternity.
What is it in a mother’s love that calms the inconsolable? A tender touch, sweet nothings whispered, silent smiles, nose in cheek nuzzles? The tears dry up, the boo-boo’s kissed, the nose is wiped, a heart is content. Perhaps it is that tired smile from nights of interrupted slumber, or the piercing eyes that see through the chocolate-smudged guilty fingers, or the hearty laugh that fills the house after the 17th knock-knock joke. Secure, sacred, with just the right shape for a three-year old to curl up into, she opens herself to life and God takes it from there.
The rains come, and so do the potholes. A fireman’s hose of rain penetrates through the weak asphalt, leaving a gaping hole, big enough to agitate an unaware driver. Small drops of water, so delicate and clear, turn into fault-finders when multiplied a thousand-fold. The Fountain of Life, sends His torrential rains of Love on us too, revealing our impurities, our weaknesses that we try to hide from ourselves. Steering around our sinfulness, we struggle to let go of our comfort zone. If we are vigilant, waiting for the Lord to direct our path, we will have safe passage through the bumpy shedding of our old self.
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father [disciplines] the son he delights in. ~ Proverbs 3:11-12
Two small heads bob to the music. Older brother creates a hip for his little sister to sit. They sway in time, heads tilted toward one another. So free to love, uninhibited by age or pretense. There sits Jesus, on that hip. There He stands, holding her tight and secure. Loving freely, intimately, tenderly – nothing held back – pure, unadulterated love. How He moves the young who are so close to Him, inspiring the older, more guarded and selfish. Thank You for reminding me of Your tenderness waiting for me to embrace.
A day at the park – sand beneath bare feet. Blown into hair, tossled by the wind. Shovels digging, sand flying, dry and coarse, knees caked with sand. Look at the beautiful creation! Gone in a blink, onto another, bigger, better. Don’t we do the same? It never is good enough, not quite the way I wanted it, just 5 more minutes? Wasting time trying to perfect the transient, seeking that next thing that will really make life complete, forgetting the end goal of the journey – God’s perfection.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~Matthew 5:48