I woke up crabby yesterday, mostly due to the fact that there wasn't actually much sleeping between the time I went to bed and the time I woke up again. It was just a rough day for me, any which way you slice it. Do you have days like that? I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that. I knew it wouldn't last and that Annie was right about the sun coming up tomorrow and blah blah blah, but I was just stuck in the yuck of life.
Then it warmed up a bit and I decided to hit the road for a run and I knew the day would be redeemed and that chipper little red-haired Annie really was right. Runners of the world, you will understand this immediately. Non-runners of the world, you will think I am crazy. Oh, the day that started with chocolate as a food group and crabby as my middle name ended really, really well.
But it was also one of those days in which the speed at which this life is passing smacks me right in the face. We all hear it, especially once we have kids. "It goes so fast." "Enjoy them while they're young." "They'll be out of the house before you know it." "Blink and they're grown." And it is true. Every day it is true. But some days it rings truer than others.
Elliot and I talked after prayers and lullabies.
E: "I'm really tired, but I wish I didn't ever have to sleep. . . Do you think we have to sleep in heaven?"
Me: "Hmmm. I don't know. What do you think?"
E: "I don't think you have to. Not if you don't want to. I hope that once you get to heaven you can find a way to come back and tell me stuff like that."
Me: "Oooh, wouldn't that be great? I bet I will be able to find a way to tell you what I need to tell you from heaven."
E: "Yeah. Maybe you could rain ideas down on me."
Me: "I wonder if that's how it works."
E: "I bet you can fly there. Then you can fly down and tell me what you need to."
Me: "I don't know exactly how it will work, but I will definitely be able to let you know how much I love you when I'm in heaven."
E: "Yeah. I think so. Good night."
Me: "I love you, buddy. Good night."
E: "Love you, too, mama."
And I closed his door just the perfect amount that he likes it closed and I turned out the lights and I hesitated. I was thinking of a time when I was in heaven and couldn't be with him. Truthfully I was praying with every single bit of me that I would be in heaven first, but that it wouldn't happen for a long, long time. And I was thinking of a time when my home wasn't inhabited by these four beloved, noisy little people who drop a lot of food on the floor and paint me pretty pictures and I was wondering if it would feel much like a home without them here. That boy. His gentle, intelligent, wondering words cut me to the quick.
Yesterday I watched my 10-year-old tickle his baby brother and shoot hoops and play handbells at church, again struck with the realization that, if all goes as expected, we're over halfway to him moving out of this house. That is nothing but wrong. Only despicable. One hundred percent offensive. Wrong.
I heard my baby belly laugh as I shook my head like a crazy woman simply because it made him laugh. I saw him reach for me in love because, to him, to this little precious life, I am safety and love and good. I held his dimpled fingers as he stood and smiled at me, all thighs and belly and proud smile.
And I took Asher boy for a run in his stroller and Audrey biked beside me and her zest for life, oh her zest for life, just shone. She talked a million miles a minute because her love language is time alone with a grown-up. (quiet baby in stroller is just an accessory in this case) We ran/biked past the beach and she was thrilled to see that the sand was free, no longer entombed by all that snow. Knowing snow was making a return engagement, she asked if she could go into the sand and just feel it. I told her she could and I would run ahead and she could catch up. I assured her I'd wait by the park if she hadn't started again yet.
She catapulted over the short wall separating sidewalk from sand, bike helmet on head, jacket over hooded sweatshirt over t-shirt, comfy pants, and winter boots to fully complete the ensemble. Over my shoulder I saw her run her hand along the sand and then I turned my head and kept running.
"Mama!!! I'm coming!!!"
I turned and waved and wahooed her as she built up the speed necessary to catch me. "You can make it, Audrey. Come on, girl!"
She caught me, one hand grasping her bike handle, the other resting on it while her little chilled fingers were curled tight. "I brought some sand to take home. That way I can keep it so I can remember that summer is coming."
I am holding these moments in my clenched hand. I want to hold them so tightly to remember these magical, mundane, beautiful, ordinary days that make up this life we share together.