Sunday at about noon, I had all the kids ready for church, which starts at 1:00 PM. Greg was already at the church, and we had an hour or so until we needed to be there. I told the kids it was quiet time for a bit, and to find something quiet to do. I went to my room for a little quiet time of my own. After awhile, I heard squirting sounds followed by hysterical laughter from my two youngest boys. I smiled and wondered what they could be doing, but ignored it for a few more minutes, thinking it couldn’t be that bad. This is one of the times that thought was wrong!
My little Owen (age 4) had squirted most of our acrylic paints onto two plates. Paint was all over everything: His shirt, his pants, hands, feet, face, the table, the floor. Right before church!!! I asked him how he felt about what he did, and he said, “I feel great!” It was so hard to not smile too much at that statement.
I call him my mural painter because I often find his work all over the walls, furniture, and carpet. Markers, paints, you name it. He is always very proud of his work, even though he has to scrub it off the walls himself.
As crazy as it sounds, I secretly love these moments. Yes, he destroyed his church clothes, wasted paint, and created a big mess, which set us back time-wise. But, I will always remember that day, and I will look back on it with fondness. I will always remember how ‘great’ he felt, and those cute little giggles I heard as the paint was squirted out.
Then vs. Now
Owen is my 5th child, and he reminds me a lot of my oldest, Kayla. Kayla was a lot like Owen. She had a mind of her own, and she did what she wanted to do. She often did artwork around the house, and she didn’t stop doing it no matter what I did. Kayla was also a pro at playing with water in the sink and flooding the bathroom, just like Owen. It was quite distressing to me! My reaction to her artwork was much different than my reaction to Owen’s. How I wish I would have cherished that cute little girl more, and shown her more kindness when she didn’t do what I wanted her to do. I was such a different mom to her. I think maybe it’s because she’s the oldest, but I was much more tuned into her flaws. When she made messes, she was more likely to get a mad, yelling mom than a calm one who was secretly cherishing the moment.
Owen recently asked me,
“How many days is it until yesterday?”
What a profound question! This question really hit hard for me because I have been thinking about how quickly the time flies, and how no matter how much we would love to go back we can’t. Kayla is now 13, and she has grown to be a beautiful, brilliant young woman. It feels like I was just putting her in time out for painting on the walls. It is hard to believe how quickly the time has gone. I often get emotional thinking that we only have a short 5 years or so until she is graduated and out of the house. I know it will go by quickly. Sometimes I long to go back to when she was 4 for just one day to remember the sweetness that I don’t think I noticed before. I am grateful that I don’t see her flaws first anymore, and I hope she can someday recognize that as well.
Having young children is hard, but it is also precious. Sometimes it’s hard to realize how precious it is until it’s gone. There are so many beautiful things about the chaos this stage in life brings. It isn’t easy to stop and see what there is to be grateful for in the frustrating moments, but when I do, it is always a good experience. I am working on cherishing the moments, even when they aren’t perfect. They make the very best memories.