Monday, August 30, 2010
Time just slips away
I hardly feel like I'm 30 now, but I am.
I can barely believe I graduated college 9 years ago December 10, but I did.
I look at Monkey and wonder when he went from brand new to nearly two... Love Bug is the same... how can she possibly be 4 on Halloween?
There are days of triumph. Wearing big boy undies without an accident. Climbing the ladder on the jungle gym all on her own. There are quiet days of snuggling or pajama days where we stay in bed and read books all morning. There are days of great 'bentures when we explore a river. Days filled with grace, beauty, giggles and learning. Days of fighting, whining and tears when we don't get our way. Days of frustration when it feels like I say no more than I say anything else. Days when I am exhausted. Days when they are exhausted. There are days when I long for down time and a life of my own followed by days where I can't imagine not loving them and being loved by them. Days filled with dancing, crafts and imagination exploding. Somewhere in all of it they are learning their most important lessons.
They are learning to share. To compromise. To wait and take turns. They are learning to show love and receive love. They learn how to ask for help and how to be independent. They learn their letters, numbers, shapes and colors. They learn to read. They are learning to say "yes please", "no thank you", "m'am" or "sir", "May I...?" and "can you...?" I hope they are learning that beauty on the inside is more important than beauty on the outside. That we respect everyone even if we don't agree with them. That we are gracious and kind towards others. And most importantly, as Bugs put it, "That God took the naughty. Jesus loves us so much he took the naughty for everyone."
I try my best to explain things and answer questions in a way that teaches them without talking down to them. I try to have patience (some days are just rough). I try to nurture and shelter them as they grow. I hope I manage to impart some wisdom that makes their journey in life a little easier.
Yet, I am quick to discount just how important what I do is.
I was talking with Blake about how I sometimes feel like I am just treading water. Like I am pouring all my energy into living my boss' lives...sometimes at the cost of my own life. I give their house and kids so much of my energy in the 11 hours I am here, that when I get home I walk my dog and I am done mentally and emotionally. Yet, I long to have my own family and how do I get to a family of my own if I don't have the energy to be out meeting people? How do I date someone long enough to get engaged when I constantly have to cancel because my one boss is on call and the other has a last minute meeting pop up so I am stuck at the house with the kids until one of them can get home? How do I balance it all without loosing my life in theirs? I started working with them January 2, 2007 when Bugs was only 8 weeks old. I have been here a minimum of 55 hours every week (except vacations & major holidays) since then, sometimes working up to 70+ hours a week. Yes, I am blessed that I love this job and it rarely seems like hard work. In fact, it comes with a ton of perks ( I get paid to go to the park, the Frist, the Zoo, the Adventure Science Center, the pool, etc) and my "office" is a house or wherever I choose to take the kids.
I know I am leaving a legacy of love in the lives of every kid I have worked with. I know that my life and time has impacted their lives. Yet sometimes I feel like I should be doing more. Sometimes I wish it was my own kids, not someone else's. I failed to see that I am on the front lines of discipleship until Blake pointed it out.
It's easy to see God in the wonder, excitement, mystery and 'bentures, but easy to over look Him in the dishes, laundry, potty training accidents and temper tantrums. What I realized is that the kids learn as much (if not more) from how I handle all those tasks as they do from watching baby birds in a nest. God is in all the moments I share with them and all the moments I don't... but am I making the most of those moments? Have I taught them how to show love in the mundane chores of daily life? Have they seen my serve with a gracious heart when their dad is incapable of emptying his own dishwasher (the tone of that might tip you off to the answer)? Have I shown them how to handle frustrating situations in a way that brings joy instead of sadness or hurt?
Next year, Bugs could be at school 5 days a week. Next year, Monkey will start going two days a week from 8-12. Before I know it, they won't need me daily the way they do now. Something may happen before then and I'll move onto another season. I don't know what is ahead but I do know that time moves quickly. I only have so much of it available to me and I often wonder am I making the best use of it? Have I laid the foundation I was tasked to lay in their lives? Have I taught them all God has brought me into their lives to teach them? Have I done all I could with the time I have had?