Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Love, Marbles, I-40 and Dave Matthews...

So, over two years ago (the official date listed is May 6, 2012), I tossed a handful of pictures into a new blog entry and never did anything else.  The intent was a Mother's Day post centered around the moms that let me love their kids and how thankful I am to all of them.  And I've thought about the post a million times, but I just could never figure out the angle I wanted to take with the writing.  Mother's Day 2012, 2013 AND 2014 came and went.  Pitiful.  But the draft always stayed put.

This weekend, it all hit.

I was in Wilmington for the long weekend for Memorial Day with Matt, Liz and their family.  We played a lot, and on Sunday we went to their church.  I barely got up in time, didn't shower (which I NEVER do), but we still made it.  

My focus tends just drift off when I'm at a new church.  I look around a lot, take it all in, and maybe, usually, admittedly, I don't pay 100% attention to the sermon.  I did this time, though.

It was the first of a three-part series about "Losing Your Marbles" - and the marbles in this message were time.  He talked about kids a lot in this one.  A whole lot.  How if you put 936 marbles in a jar when a kid is born, and throw one away every week until they turn 18, you'd physically watch time pass with the marbles in that jar.  A ton of his point is that with everything else everyone has going on, TIME is what kids want.  They want you to invest time in them. 

I thought SO MUCH about 'my kids' as he was talking.  I know so many people must think that I'm crazy. I'm 32, single, and spend the majority of my 'free time' with children.  My car might need to be washed, my laundry might need to be folded, my mail might need to be sorted, my bed ALWAYS needs to be made...but if I have an opportunity to spend that time with kids instead, that's where I'm going.  I go to what seems like millions of birthday parties and recitals and school plays.  I sit in the bleachers at baseball or basketball games or run off for an impromptu dinner or ice cream date or walk a crew to school in the mornings and give lots of hugs at classroom doors.  All of it means so much more to me than that other stuff that isn't going anywhere, anyway.

So, I invest in now.  I could worry a lot about a year from now or five years from now and, admittedly, dwell too much on being single and wondering if and when I'll ever drop my OWN kids off in those classroom doorways.  (Which I do A LOT.)  Or I could just love now.

And then, lo and behold, I listened to some OLD Dave Matthews driving home from Wilmington.  CDs that I have heard 3 million times and haven't listened to in years.  And there, in a song I know by heart, was a lyric I've never paid attention to, and it was like I was supposed to hear it in the midst of thinking about all of this...  "The future is no place to place your better days".

Live in the now.  Don't worry about if tomorrow or next year or five years from now is going to be 'better'.  What does better even mean, anyway?  Lose your marbles with purpose, not just for the sake of losing them and moving on to the next thing.

And then, I mentally envisioned 20 jars of marbles for the 20 babies that have been really truly been 'mine' since they were babies.  So many kids mean so much to me, but oh, these are just the ones that live in my heart and have since before they knew any different (or really had any choice, bless their hearts).  And I choked up at the thought of how few marbles would be left in so many of those jars.  I even felt a little pinch for all of the marbles left in baby Matty's jar, and he's only 6 months old.

"Teach us to number our days..."

Then, then came a GIANT wave of gratefulness to the mothers that let so much of the time that those marbles represent be MY time with their children.  Eight mothers who have handed over that gift of fleeting time to ME.  Handed it over a lot.  And oh, I was SOBBING on I-40 listening to those old, scratched CDs...

Lo and behold, the photos dumped into the blog over two years ago popped into my head.

Ann Parke and Mary, Stacy and Amy, Jen and Laura, Kristin and Katie...THANK YOU for letting me invest in the yesterday and the today and the tomorrow with your children. Letting me be in the now with them so often.  I'm not sure that you'll ever understand what it has meant to me.  For all of you it might just be a chance for a night out or a weekend away or a darn grocery store trip without so many extra hands reaching for things, but I have taken every second that you have let me have your kids so seriously and I have treated that time so preciously.  

Even more than that, OH the friends that I have in all of you.  That's just a blessing upon a blessing.  Who could have ever known that I would be given these friendships with all of you?  You've let me be a part of your family and you have become part of mine.  I know I've written about that before, but I will repeat it over and over to try express what I mean.  I've cried on your shoulders, you've cried on mine, we've talked each other off of lots of ledges and celebrated many milestones together, and I could never tell you what YOU mean to me.  You've shown me motherhood and friendship in ways that I never could have imagined, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I can't imagine losing so many of my marbles with ANYONE but all of you and your amazing, beautiful families...  Thank you.  My cup TRULY runneth over.  So much love to you all.