So many themes running through this thing, but I’m especially loving the parts with descriptions of motherhood. In talking about how the mother sees her children it says:
“She was stunned, and stunned again by them. And her love for them. How much had been lost? How much had never made it into her memory? Never made it into a photograph? Let this moment make it, she prays. Let each of them remember it too.”
That “moment” it was talking about was such a simple moment. One where her three children were reading, leaning into one another at the library, tall shelves around them, “dust suspended in the afternoon light.” And it made me want more than ever to cherish the “ordinary” moments with my children.
The feel of Lucy’s solid hand grasping for mine, holding it close when we walked to school the other day. And this moment meaning more to me since that is a rare gesture for Lucy. Her prayer last night, when we had just finished reading The Girl who Drank the Moon, (her for the second time), and how she spilled out gratitude to God that she got to read with her mother, bringing up Narnia books again, and wrapping her arm around me when she was done. (Again, not something Lucy volunteers often.)
I want to remember that Claire is still goofy enough to lean over and tap me at church, and when I look over, her smile is blue, Extra gum smoothed carefully over her braces and teeth. The glee filling her whole body after a great block in her last volleyball game of the season, stretching to join the jubilation of the other girls in a jumping huddle of excitement as the game was won.
The speedy “yes!” when I asked Grace if she wanted to meet me at a wedding reception place to check it out after school, and talking to her over a taco salad after that, about life and friends and worries and joys. The billowy cloud watercolored with pink that she called us out to see the other night at sunset, and standing there together, a family (at least the at-home part) with eyes of wonder taking in God’s art. Her smile jeweled with her dimples when we look at each other and know what the other is thinking.
The prayer huddles, the hugs, the kitchen talks, the family dinners, the stopping to look in each other’s eyes, the secret smiles of inside jokes…let those moments make it…and perhaps overcrowd the fighty, yelly, door-slamming ones.
Or maybe not.
Maybe all those moments mixed in together are the ones I hope they’ll remember to buoy them up when they’re walking to a college class one day, trying to figure out how to deal with their own teenagers, or just daydreaming of their childhood.
We had a lot of “moments” over Fall Break, moments I hope we all remember, but one stood out that I want to share as long as we’re talking about moments:
A little background: when kids turn twelve in our church they get to go to the temple for the first time. They get to participate in work for those who have passed away. And it is a pretty exciting thing that all of my kids have looked forward to.
These guys coming to join us:
(That boy is my cute nephew who is a freshman at BYU-Idaho.)
Lucy’s awe and excitement at being allowed to go into that holy place, her questions and awed reverence spilling out to the rest of us.
So there I was, in Kristi’s dress spiffed up with my pants underneath (it was too short), and white crocs the temple let me borrow, huddled next to Grace and Claire leaning over a little railing to watch Lucy get baptized, tears spilling out of all of us because it was so incredibly beautiful with Papa giving Lucy a kiss on the head each time she came out of the water, and not being able to control his voice from cracking with emotion. One of the most strikingly powerful spirit-filled experiences I’ve had in a long time. These things are perhaps more spiritually charged with Lucy because she thinks through spiritual things with her heart in a very uniquely beautiful way and I’m so lucky to be able to watch that as her mother.
I asked Lucy after we were done if she was worried at all in there and she said no, and explained that it was just kind of like her “national habitat” (meaning “natural habitat”) and that it was like riding a bike…once you’ve done it you just know how to do it from there on out. And I think she was right. She did great, and we basked in the fact that it was warm and comfortable this time around unlike the freezing cold “hot tub” in someone’s basement in China where she had her first baptism experience at eight (although that is also a beautiful moment I will never, ever forget…it is back HERE).
I hope we will always remember that morning. The morning where the temple loomed above us, scaffolding trying to fix something or other, the crisp air, fall colors gently sparkling from the trees, love swirling in and around us, a little knit group there in Idaho on that morning, but reaching it’s tentacles back to those ancestors who have gone before us.
Yes, I pray right along with that mother in the book I’m reading was praying for her own moments, “let that moment make it…let each of them remember it too.”
It’s interesting how “moments” are extra beautiful to the eye of the beholder who is truly looking. I love how the book continues, “how many times has she [the mother] stood, as she’s standing now, and looked at her children as she is watching them now? A way of seeing that magnifies her attention, deepens her love at the sight of them, and she notices them in a way she otherwise might not. The way the sunlight goldens the profile of their faces…”
I think the beauty of the “moments” in our lives lies in what we care to really look at and notice. Moments can pass us by quickly and be lost, never to be remembered when we’re distracted and frustrated, when we’re not paying attention. We have to soften our hearts enough to let them in and to change us. The beauty comes when we stop long enough to examine. To appreciate, to take it all in while spilling out our gratitude.