Thursday, August 6, 2009

Enjoy The Now

This morning I dropped my oldest two kids off at camp. Drove my youngest two kids to Vacation Bible School and just like that, I had 3 hours to myself. I went to the local coffee shop and ordered a cappuccino in a real ceramic cup (not to-go). The kind of cappuccino where they make a feather design in the foam at the top. I carried it precariously back to my tiny table by the window that was cracked just enough to let in the chilly morning air. I pulled my Bible from my Java Blue Vera Bradley quiet time bag and proceeded to relish the SILENCE. Okay, so it wasn't silent in the coffee shop. There was actually quite a bit a hustle and bustle, but I owned none of the noise, so I was able to tune it out. I sipped my fancy drink, took tiny bites of my chocolate chip scone and enjoyed the fact that I was wearing a sweatshirt for the first time after weeks of unusually hot weather. I read and journaled. Nibbled and sipped away the next 40 minutes. I begrudgingly packed up my stuff and walked the two blocks to the van. When you're not schlepping four kids you can intentionally park a few blocks away to enjoy the gorgeous morning. I went to see my hair stylist and got my first hair cut in six months. She was even able to patch up my lame attempt at cutting my own bangs. I walked out of the salon like the girl in the Pantene commercial. Tossing my newly styled locks and hoping someone noticed that I actually had a recognizable haircut and not an overgrown mess. I had just enough free time left to run to the gym and squeeze in a workout before pickup at Vacation Bible School. Don't worry - I tried to keep the sweat out of my fancy hair.

Paige went to "Wampa Terry and Wama Ru's" house for her first every sleepover and so Alli and I drove her out to Wilsonville for the big event after VBS. We decided to make the most of our alone time together and had a date of our own. We went to a park down by the river (that reminds of the Chris Farley motivational speaker skit on Saturday Night Live, but I digress) and played on the play equipment. There was a huge chunk of preserved forest separating the ball fields from the river, so we decided to go for a hike. I let Alli navigate and we explored the trails through the woods. When we made it back to our starting spot, we sat on the swings and played I Spy. We finished our date by coming home to snuggle and watch a movie.

We picked up Grant and Katie from camp and as I started to make supper, the kids went upstairs to play. I chopped and prepped in relative silence, when the quiet was broken by the sweet sound of all three kids giggling. They were full-on laughing their heads off and it made me start to chuckle. In that moment, I felt God whisper to me, "Enjoy the now." As much as I LOVED my three hours of solitude this morning, I equally loved regathering my little chicks from their activities and listening to them enjoy each other. It dawned on me that I have the rest of my life to sip coffee from breakable cups and read my Bible without being interrupted a thousand times in 30 minutes. And I realized that my kids won't always need me to help them remember what goes in their backpack for camp, to show them how to fold a fold-top sandwich bag, or to help them tie their shoes.

That little sentiment from God, "Enjoy the now," gave me a renewed sense of purpose in my parenting. To embrace those times of quiet when I escape from my normal life and let them bring rejuvenation and refreshment. But to also embrace the noise and the chaos, the tears and the laughter that come with raising four children. And I have new resolve to enjoy the now.

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