Other days, there's a deep echo calling me to remember.
Today is one of those days.
Oftentimes life can knock us down. A kid can be acting out, causing us to question where we've gone wrong, to doubt our parenting.... ourselves. Life can be overwhelmingly busy and in the busyness we forget what really matters.
If I let myself, I can begin to believe the enemy. I can begin to believe that I am unarmed and unequipped.
The truth is that, armed with God's Word, I have everything I need.
He gently reminds me of this truth, urging me to get back up, and keep trying.
And then He calls me to remember that life is but a vapor, a mist - here one moment and gone the next. What trials I face right now won't necessarily be the ones I'm fighting a month or year from now. Just like the baby I held 'yesterday' is now 8 1/2.
Time passes. He heals. He restores.
I blink and another day is gone. I blink and a decade is behind me.
I'm more aware of the brevity of life than ever and have since begun asking God to sear memories in my mind. To help me remember.
It was yesterday that we loaded up into my GrandAm and headed to the hospital to have our firstborn, our baby girl, Anna.
And now that 8 lb. 13 ounce baby is in 3rd grade.
16 months later we loaded up again and headed to the hospital to have our son, Eli.
I blinked and my 8 lb. 8 ounce little fella is a second grader.
It seems like 2-3 months ago I had Emi, and now my baby girl is 13 months old. She's walking - well, running and full of the sweetest little giggles ever, pointing with her index finger and saying "dat, dat" (that).
And all I can do is petition God to help sear memories into the deepest recesses of my mind. Memories that I can pull on the dark days.
Memories like our first night at home after having Anna, with my sister standing beside me as I rocked her. All I could do was stare at her in awe, tears streaming down my face, whispering "It was worth it."
Memories of her waking up in the middle of the night, me coming to get her, and her always pointing to the kitchen saying "Pup, pup, my pup" and off we'd go to retrieve her sippy cup. We'd make our way to the recliner to rock into the wee hours of the morning until she was no longer scared.
Memories of singing her song to her each night before bed, her snuggled up to me in the rocking chair.
Memories of her seeing Eli for the first time and leaning over to give him a kiss.
Memories of her cutting her hair .... twice and being so proud of herself as I cried.
Memories of her being the sweetest little hula girl in the church Christmas Play.
Her first day of Kindergarten and how she walked so independently, not a fear in that pint size body of hers, while I was inwardly a ball of mixed emotions.
Her getting all dressed up as a princess at Disney World to go eat dinner in Cinderella's Castle.
Or when she got her first kitty, Harley - still very much a baby, so much so that he had to be bottle fed.
I blinked. She's a beautiful 8 year old now. Full of energy and life and happiness. She's in the Gifted and Talented program. She's getting braces in a few weeks and in love with soccer and volleyball and Justin Bieber.... and I merely blinked.
Yet my memories remain.
Memories of seeing Eli hooked up to more wires and machines and tubes than I care to remember, but standing at the window to the nursery loving him more than I could ever possibly explain.
Memories of sitting in the dark with the moonlight shining in his room as we rocked together before bedtime. Memories of me singing his song to him and when I got to the part "til the thunder sounds no more" how, without fail, every time he would get tickled and laugh when I said the word "thunder". He still smiles to this day when I get to that part.
Memories of him being a momma's boy, crying when anyone else tried to hold him. All it would take was me sticking my hands under his arms and he'd stop before I even got him up to my chest.
Or when he was in his first church Christmas play and wouldn't stay where he was supposed to - running in place while someone held the back of his shirt. Or when he got loose and crawled up to the girl singing the solo, with her knee-high socks and began slowly rolling them down to her ankles. I must say, she kept on singing like a trooper.
Or when we went to Disney World and he poked Mike Wasowski in the eye and then screamed as Mike began chasing him.
Memories of Ariel kissing him at dinner and him blushing like crazy, proudly wearing his lipstick mark the rest of the night.
Or when he walked up to the life sized "toy" soldier and began unbuckling his belt, then ran off in terror when the "toy" moved.
I blinked and now he's a 2nd grader, full of life and mischief and loves all things Lego's and tractors and is attempting his first real season at soccer.
It's amazing how blinking can somehow seem like years have been lost.
Yet I have these memories. Such sweet, glorious memories.
Memories of pregnancy tests and excitement for our #3 and #4. Memories of hopes and dreams for them. Memories of how insanely excited Anna and Eli were. And I wouldn't take anything for those moments. I don't regret telling them because I remember the pride and joy they had for a few weeks. Such absolutely precious and irreplaceable memories.
Memories of waiting and waiting for Emilee after losing our other two sweet babies. Memories of how stubborn she showed us she was going to be - being so incredibly large and refusing to come so much as a day earlier than she was scheduled. Weighing in at 9 lbs and 13 ounces she wanted us to know she came in big and likewise will make a big impact on this world, of that I have no doubt.
Memories of laying in the operating room, waiting to hear her cry, then crying when I did. I don't know why I remember this so much. I honestly don't remember Anna and Eli's first cry. But I remember waiting so expectantly, desperate to hear her cry and know she was okay, then laying there with tears streaming down my face as I heard her for the first time. She was loud and determined - still very much the same today. She didn't quiet until Mark brought her to me and I talked to her, her cry hushing as I took my first look at her and said "Hi Emilee. Shh, it's okay. Mommy loves you sweet girl."
It's seared into my memory and I'm oh so thankful for that.
Memories of how insanely proud Anna and Eli were of her as they looked at her for the first time through the nursery window.
The smiles on their faces as they held her for the first time.
Memories like it and how this sweet girl used to have the craziest hair that we could never get to lay down.
How fiercely independent she is, rarely sitting still long enough for me to rock her or snuggle with her. But in the rarest of moments, she'll slowly settle in and fall asleep in my arms. I remember the first time she did that since she began walking and how I specifically asked God to sear it into my memory.... and He graciously did.
Memories of her saying "Momma" first - the only one of our 3 to say it first.
Memories of her waking up in the middle of the night crying. I scoop her up and she lays her head on my chest. I rock her in my arms, her face aglow by the blue nightlight of the monitor. She's peaceful and content in my arms.
I blinked and a year is gone.
I blinked. Really, it seems that's all I did and the time was gone.
But my memories serve to correct me - that years and months and days and hours and minutes were lived inbetween those blinks.
So many memories beckoning me to remember not just all the sweet moments but that each and every second serves as a reminder of how quickly time passes. Time that should be embraced and lived and breathed with love and purpose and with the passion to live out our days honoring and glorifying the One who created us and who gave us these memories in the first place.
Memories of working on this post and Anna coming in and looking at the pictures. She started sobbing. I asked her what was wrong and she said "They're happy tears."
Indeed, memories serve as happy tears reminders of just how great our God is!
And that's one memory I want seared into my heart - how faithful and loving and great our God is.
May I blink a thousand times and never forget it.