I heard something early on in my beginning years of motherhood that struck me and I have continued carrying it with me. It’s the idea or notion that we as mothers only have eighteen years. Eighteen Christmases, eighteen summers, eighteen first days of school. Only eighteen years.
After eighteen years, our children are then beginning their move into adulthood. Either my kids will be heading off to college or serving missions for our church or even traveling. They will be looking ahead and creating the life they want for themselves. Of course, there will be future holidays together and hopefully annual summer vacations and plenty more memories to be made, but it won’t be like it is now – all of them under one roof enjoying all of these milestones throughout the year, year after year. All of them all to myself. No one that I have to share them with.
And as I now find myself with a thirteen-year-old, I can honestly say that time is a horrible thief and it feels as though I have blinked and here we are. To think that in five years I will be waiting for Tanner to tell me what his next step is following high school graduation. As much as I absolutely love seeing these children growing and becoming incredible individuals, my heart aches over the idea of our time together under one roof ever ending.
These years in motherhood are the hardest and most trying times of my life. They have stretched me in ways that I never could have imagined. But they also have continued putting me back together, piece by piece, into the woman that I also knew I wanted to be. This new version includes the ability to envelop five beautiful souls with a never-ending amount of love, patience, and understanding – even on days that I think I have nothing more to give. A version that can heal wounds with a simple kiss, wipe tears and replace them with laughter as well as chase monsters from closets. A version that prays over little ones with fears and worries and then prays some more behind closed doors, on bended knee and with tear-filled eyes pleading with Him to keep them safe always. And allow me many more days to be there to see it. It’s a version of myself that accepts I am simply a steward. And they are His.
After eighteen years with each, I will find myself in a new role. One that will be my next hardest. Just as bitter and just as sweet. Until then though…