Filling the pool

My parents just sold my childhood home. Since I was eighteen months old when they bought it, I don’t remember any other house. As I drove away for the last time, I realized that I would never walk in that front door anymore, never swim in that pool, never have breakfast at that table or watch tv in that family room–the places where I spent my entire life until I left for college, the places I still called home long after I’d made another. I felt like I needed to grab all those memories as though they were bubbles, bent on bursting into nothingness. and ironically, these bubbles had already burst ages ago. How to catch them now?

And then I realized: I already had.

As I dug into my past, I was surprised what I came up with. Holding my cat in the living room, crying over a boy. Kissing a different boy in the pool. Kissing the right boy in that family room, the boy who would become my husband. Playing video games on the floor with my mom. Playing on the stairs with my sister. Playing by myself with a little Lego animal family. Moment after moment, all based in that house, the backdrop of my childhood.

I thought they were gone, those moments, because they burst. All moments burst. But they collect as well. The pool of our memories is deep, and surprisingly tight. No, I don’t remember it all. But there was considerable comfort in how much I could remember, even twenty-five or thirty years later.

I took my sweet ones to Disneyland a few weeks ago, just me and them. In all the craziness of summer crowds, with only one adult for two children, we flitted through our day with surprising ease. It was amazing, just spending time creating memories with them. I meant to come home and record all those memories–squeezing into a single car on Buzz Lightyear or getting soaked by a stuck parade float while holding a less-than-thrilled K. The feeling of their warm little hands still seeking mine out,  an inseparable row of three.

Meant to record them, but didn’t.

I’ve accepted the fact that this season of my life is messy, busy, hectic. God has packed it full right now, and it therefore lacks the simplicity that I admire in some other people’s lives. But this is our road, and I praise Jesus for the blessing that it is. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Still, between end of school activities and M’s birthday party and our summer vacation, the craziness reached a new level, and with that came the return of anxiety over the weight of the carpe diem battle cry of motherhood–that we should be recognizing all those little moments and appreciating them as they float past us. We leap for one and it floats, pops, slips right past. Even if we grab one, we’ve missed three in the process.

But they’re still there. Just because we didn’t necessarily appreciate it at the time doesn’t mean we lived it any less. Sometimes the whirlwind is just part of the experience, instead of a hindrance to it.

I’m all for slowing down and enjoying life. I’m the one who waits patiently while my kids read every last sign in the Tarzan treehouse, or who builds Lego creations for (what feels like) hours on end. But there’s also joy in the frenzy, and I just because I can’t appreciate now doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it later.

Take a deep breath. Yes, they are growing up before your eyes. Yes, life is whipping past you every second. But that’s okay. You’re growing and whipping along with it. Praise God for constructing us so capably, for giving us not just life abundant, but the ability to enjoy it both now and in the future. God promises that “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). That brimming-full pool of memories will be all the more refreshing when we get a chance to really swim.


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