It hits in breath-taking pieces, like fall’s colorful leaves carelessly dropping off a craggy grey maple. The sunlit, boisterous summer season of toddlerhood is officially over, and the fall season of boyhood arrives with longer branches and sturdier limbs.
Yesterday it hit me - literally – outside a local Starbucks. As I headed back to the truck I felt something small bounce off my head. A second later a small purplish berry dinked my arm and dropped to the pavement. Looking up in surprise, I noticed a half-dozen ravens atop a tall palm tree, cackling to each other as they rustled their beaks in the thick thatch of blue-black berries in the branches.
I couldn’t help laughing at being the target of their games. But my smile faltered then fell as I realized I had no one to share the humorous moment with. Both boys were just up the road, at school.
But, the ravens…all I could think was how much Cole would’ve treasured the moment with me.
My baby. The first life I grew inside my body, a sweet blessing from God we called the lima bean until he grew to epic proportions, prompting twin questions and a breech-induced C-section. Our 9 ½ pounder looked 2 months old at his one-week check up.
During the last two weeks of my first pregnancy, Cole rested his head just under my heart, right at the end of those magical days inside me.
Cole…our very literal seven-year-old, who’s fascinated by ravens and anything in nature, who asks 96.3 questions each day, who struggles in social situations but shares with anyone and everyone, who tells story after story about magical worlds and characters who fight the bad guys.
He’s our professional Lego builder and an amazing speller, who compliments my cooking and reads to his brother and whose simple faith and piercing questions often leave me speechless.
He’s a startling mix of me and Trevor and just…Cole.
I knew how much he would’ve enjoyed seeing the ravens as they cackled and played berry games, and all of a sudden feeling overflowed. A double trail of tears cascaded down.
I struggled into the truck, set my drink down, and gave in to overwhelming emotion. The tears I shed that day were bittersweet, tasting of time and love and the sweet agony of watching a tiny (or not so tiny) sapling grow and begin to bloom. They were tears of gratefulness for the time we had together, as difficult as it was being home with two active monkeys 21 months apart.
My tears also acknowledged Cole’s recent question, when he turned to me with his wide blue eyes and asked, “Is our life a vapor?”
Lord, make me to know my end,
and what is the measure of my days,
that I may know how frail I am.
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
and my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.”
~ Psalm 39:4 & 5
The Giver of life gave us these two precious children, and I daily learn to give them back to Him. As I kiss goodbye to their toddler years – the tough, sleep deprived, just-getting-through-the-day, hug-full, laughter-rich years – I’m trying hard to open my arms to the new season ahead. I’m still learning, each day, to pray to my Heavenly Father for the wisdom, patience, and love to parent our boys, for His glory.
Let me share about God’s faithfulness…
On the way home from picking the boys up from school that same day I found myself the grateful recipient of tender God-hug. I cried a little again, but this time because my loving Creator knew exactly what I needed.
There on the side of the country road was a large group of colorful peacocks. I pulled over and the boys and I enjoyed watching a dozen peacocks strutting around. We squawked at the beautiful teal birds and giggled – together - in excitement when they squawked back.
I watched my boys’ faces, my heart full from the broad smiles on their faces.
Thank you, Lord.
“Your mercy, Oh Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds…” Psalm 36:5