I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season.
I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the smaller grocery cart. The quiet was nice.
But then I saw her. A mom walking hand-in-hand with her daughter, a balloon trailing them. And then another. A mom pushing the heft of a cart with her child riding along.
And suddenly, a pang rose in my chest and threatened to spill over in quiet tears. Because at that moment, I felt the keen ache of the passing of time. It’s true that motherhood is a continuous process of little letting-gos. It’s a constant tug of grounding roots and growing wings, and it’s a tension I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand.
And yet, in God’s gracious compassion, I have learned that motherhood is also a continuous process of little hellos. With each passing phase, a new one greets us. And if I didn’t let go of the preschool years, I’d miss what greets me after a day at kindergarten. I’d miss that too-big backpack on her small frame and the ecstatic smile after a good day in the classroom.
It can be easy in motherhood to mourn the past while also longing for the next stage, all the while missing what is right in front of us—the individual, nuanced, glorious beauty of these children and this stage right now.
But that day, in that grocery store aisle with my coffee and my thoughts to myself, I felt the tension of it all—the longing for what’s past, the anticipation for what’s to come, and a desire not to miss what’s right in front of me. So I sucked down the tears, took a deep breath and thanked the Lord that he has made all things beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Maybe you feel this too, this pang of the in-between. If that’s you, I pray the Lord would meet you right where you are and would open your eyes to the glorious riches of this moment with these children on this day. So much goodness is unfolding around us; help us to see it, Lord. Give us your peace and teach us to live fully in the moment you have gifted us. Because all too soon, we’ll be letting go of this and saying hello to what’s next. Help us not to miss it.