January 2nd, 2014.
Its a bit of a letdown, isn't it?
Every year I feel this way.
Yesterday was still part of the holidays. People were off from work, they were watching movies in the middle of the day, eating sweets and not worrying about how many calories were in them, playing games with family members, the Christmas tree was still an acceptable feature in living rooms, and no mothers were fussing at their kids to put away their toys.
And now its today.
The calories are back in all the food. The employed are back to work. The Christmas tree is mocking us with it's impending hours of packing and storing. The toys that were fun and new and allowed to be strewn everywhere just yesterday are now making us crazy with their presence. And so a new home for new toys must be made and filled before another day passes.
Time marches on.
Life never stops happening.
Blink and you'll miss something.
Its hard to imagine in the middle of the every day, in the monotony of too many toys and too many calories and not enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done...its hard to remember that things change, that your current state won't always be your current state, that one day in the not-to-distant future you will be saying sentences like "Remember back when..." and "Did I ever tell you about the time..." or "When you were little you used to..."
Its hard to recall that the January 2nds will keep on coming faster and faster, and so we should slow down a little and enjoy them, instead of feeling let down by them.
I have had the amazing pleasure/mind-boggling craziness of living with a little boy (and by 'little' I mean a current resident of the "terrible two's" (and by that I mean anywhere from the age of 18 months to 4 years old, which is how long the terrible twos last)) for the better part of a decade. It seems like once I graduate one from that stage, I have another just waiting to take over the madness that accompanies the title.
When Clay was 18 months old, he ate dog poop.
But several January 2nds have come and gone, and thankfully he doesn't do that any more.
When Nate was 3, he used toys as toilet paper.
Three January 2nds have come and gone since then, and THANK THE LORD he quit doing that.
And then there is Gabe. When we found out we were having our third boy in a row, I said to my husband "We are naming him Gabriel, because it means 'God is my strength' and I am going to need to be reminded of that for the next 18 years." And I was SOOOOOO right.
Yesterday he made me a lovely art project. He used an entire tube of yellow craft paint, and a red tube, and an orange, and a green, and a black, to fill my bathroom sink with an abstract painting. And he topped off his masterpiece with a complete tube of Neosporin. Just because it needed it.
After that he emptied a full can of hair mousse in the closet floor, followed by a brand new bottle of hand soap and a half full bottle of lotion. All while chewing an entire pack of his father's gum.
His very life flashed before my eyes, let me tell you.
But as I lay in bed last night, inhaling the paint fumes mixed with the soap and lotion scents, I remembered when Nate used his toys as toilet paper, and when Clay used dog poop as a snack, and how their lives flashed before my eyes in those moments, and how many Januarys have come and gone since then...and how they are growing up.
And I took a deep, calming, breath.
And maybe it was the high I got from all the fumes, or maybe it was the remnants of the holiday grace and peace and joy still lingering, or maybe it was the 4 blond heads resting as close to my face as they could get...
I remembered. I reminded myself.
This doesn't last. Time marches on. Everything changes, faster than we expect, quicker than we want.
I laugh about the dog-poop-eating incident now. I shake my head and smile about the toys/toilet paper habit. I didn't kill them, and their antics didn't drive me permanently crazy.
Not too many January 2nds from now I am sure I will chuckle about the paint and the soap and the Neosporin.
Because GOD IS MY STRENGTH.
And He never changes, no matter how many New Years we face, no matter how many messes, no matter how many tears, laughs, letdowns, successes, failures, triumphs, loves, losses...
We change. He doesn't.
I remember to rest in Him.
And I forget to take down my tree today.
And I ignore the toys and the calories and the responsibilities.
Not forever. Just for one more day.
I am blessed, overwhelmingly.
I am loved, unconditionally.
I am held, eternally.
I am strengthened, daily.
January 2nd is a new holiday for me. It is "Remembrance Day." The day when I remind myself of the truths that will always be truths, even when the terrible twos finally end, even while they remain, even when I forget all year long...
He remains. He is all we need, all year, all our moments, our whole life long...or short.
I hope you'll take a moment today in the midst of the tree un-decorating, cleaning, working out, crazy letdown of the day AFTER the holidays end...and celebrate.
It's Remembrance Day, after all.
Happy Remembrance Day to you.