Don’t Blink

Don’t Blink

Our treadmill is in a partially finished area of the basement along with Jerry’s weight set, universal machine, a freezer, filing cabinets, and several bookshelves filled with our daughters’ books.

This afternoon while sitting on the floor putting on my running shoes to hit the treadmill (it was raining outside), I began to stare at the hundreds of baby, children, and ‘young adult’ books on the shelves. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Fr. Lovasik, Lemony Snicket, and Jane Austen, unknowingly live in my basement; they must be quite lonely as they haven’t really been visited in many, many years.

The books brought a flood of memories – rocking my babies, praying with them at night, softball games, band practice, horse shows, caring for our goats and pigs, broken arms, wisdom teeth removals, college visits, driver’s exams, sacraments, a wedding, grad school, moving, and more. I sat and looked over the books then focused on, “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch; tears came to my eyes.

If you’re familiar with the book you’ll know that it follows a new mother and her baby . As the baby grows up, he ends up taking care of her. It was a book that I read over and over to my girls as I rocked them singing, “I love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”

Today, I find myself in the middle of the story: The babies are grown but they are not yet taking care of us.

Our oldest has been out of the house for a long time, is married and living about 2 hours away. And, we are preparing to take our youngest to her new apartment about 2.5 hours away as she begins grad school.

As I look at the bookshelves I think to myself, “What happened”?

Well… I blinked and the world spun really fast.

I was just rocking them and changing diapers.

We were just playing barbies and Nintendo; baking cookies for Christmas and icing birthday cakes for daddy. We were playing in the yard with our dog, Scooter, and taking care of the goats and pigs on our little homestead.

Then came 4H horse shows, marching band practice, driver permits, colleges visits, boy friends, proms, and a wedding to plan. How did this happen to quickly? Why do I feel like I missed out? Why do I feel sad?

The truth is that I didn’t miss out and it didn’t happen quickly. It’s been almost 31 years since our oldest was born. It feels like yesterday.

The sadness is present because their absence leaves a hole in my heart… a very big one at times.

These last few weeks of retirement have allowed a lot of time to reflect on the past and while I’m enjoying the memories, the reality sometimes sucks.

I am so grateful that I am not alone; Jerry is the comfy couch which gives me rest, my warm fuzzy blanket that gives me comfort, and the sturdy house that protects me. I am the same for him as I know his heart also breaks for what was.

Our hearts area also full of great pride for the beautiful young women our babies have become. They have grown into intelligent, strong, and independent women. They are also our friends.

And, one day, they will become our caretakers of sorts, bringing us to the end of the story. Hopefully the happily ever after won’t come for many years.

Please pray for me as I pray for you.

And, don’t blink.

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