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.