As I watch him, I stand stunned.
Where has the time gone?
How have I missed cherishing even the littlest of these moments?
One of the rituals in our family is "who is taller?"
It has been going on for years, these comparisons.
The conversation goes something like this...
Jessi (age 13): "I am too tallest," as she stretches her spine out like an accordian so as to be a millimeter taller than her younger sister. Trying to reach to the sky to win the ever-present contest.
Observer of this stretch-until-you-hurt ritual: I (their Mom) say "Jessi, get your heals on the ground."
Amy (age 11): "No, you are not tallest, Jessi.
I am just as tall as you are. Quit standing on your toes. That's cheating."
(giggles heard everywhere as they both collapse in pure JOY and never reach an agreement of who wins the "I am taller" contest)
Today Jessi is 37 and Amy almost 35. If you want to get them started, just ask who is taller and it will all repeat itself, just like when they were little.
Now their children, without benefit of the prior scenario, copy-cat the exact same routine. Only this time cousins are comparing and sharing and giggling and exclaiming.
This week I was blessed to be over at Jessi's house to do some swimming with her children Emma and Owen. Their cousin Jenna was also there. It has been hot, hot HOT in Spokane with temperatures up into the 100s. Once we were back inside with drops of pool water marking our trail on the carpet, we started to talk about the fact that the start of school is just weeks away. It's a family ritual for me to take the children school shopping for supplies, back packs, and a new school outfit. Yet in the midst of talking about pencils and paper, we also talked about growing and changing sizes. Suddenly, almost nothing in their closet is big enough. And then I heard a familiar refrain...
Emma: (Jessi's daughter, age 11, at hearing that her seven year old cousin wears the same size pants she just got out of.)"Mooooooom" (all of you Moms know exactly how that sounds :)) "Jenna cannot wear almost the same size I wear. She's only seven. Mooooom, how can this be?" (Looking shocked and held in disbelief)
Jenna : (Amy's daughter, age 7, with a twinkle in her eye) "Emma, I do too wear size 8 and I am almost as tall as you are."
Emma: (Looking even more shocked and in greater disbelief)"Moooooooom, she is not almost as tall as I am. This isn't fair."
Side note: They get up and almost mimic perfectly their mother's scene from years before, and the stretching and grumbling brings laughter to my heart and tears to my eyes.
Jessi (Emma's Mom and my oldest daughter) "Emma, have you seen how tall Jenna's Daddy is?
She's going to be very tall."
Jenna (just to rub it in) "And my sister and brother are already tall, Emma!"
Side note: Once more the girls get up and the measuring ritual begins again, the banter begins, the it's not fair she's growing so fast begins, and then the giggles and sighs begin.
I have been the observer of this with my daughters
and now their daughters and I am almost doubled over with laughter. Is this genetic? Are these comparisons part of their DNA?
Oh how I LOVE the relaxed days of summer where the go-go-go pace is replaced by moments of talking and swimming and measuring and reading and being. The call of "we need to leave in three minutes, I mean it, three minutes" is replaced with days of more sleep, more fun, more giggling, and more feeling fully alive.
This summer I have been taking the time to cherish the littlest of moments, the family rituals that make us who we are. I have seen them with new, fully-present eyes. I know in a blink these sweet grand babies will be grown up and the moments will be gone. I am loving every minute I spend with those I love with all my heart.
And my hope and prayer for you? May you stop, look and listen. May you absorb all the goodness and grace that surrounds you. May you cherish even the littlest of moments. May your heart be filled with gratitude, no matter what comes your way. May you be "all in!" in every area of your life. And may you know, in your deepest heart of hearts, that God loves you, just as you are. You are His cherished son or daughter. No matter what may happen, or the hardships you may face, He will never leave you. Never.
Friday, August 01, 2014
"We are all just walking each other home." ...