My twin boys celebrated their tenth birthday recently. Double digits! Ten trips around the sun for them and me as a mother. This particular birthday seems to hold more meaning. A significance marking a dot on the cross-section from little boy to pre-teen. It’s as if we’ve been on a roller coaster ascending to the top peak and we’ve just started the wild descent, hands raised to savor the thrill of the ride.
Not that it’s downhill from here. Much like the roller coaster, the next ten years will have ups and downs. Yet, this ten-year birthday marks a high point, a peak we’ve been climbing toward. We’ve ascended through the newborn blur, diapers and more diapers, toddler tantrums, and all the big firsts: crawling, walking, talking, scraped knees, starting school, reading, discovering strengths and working through weaknesses. This climbing, inch-by-inch, is not only marked by my twins’ milestones but by my growth as a mother as well. A role God has used more than any other position to reveal his truth, show my weaknesses, and lead me in laying down expectations in surrender to him.
Click. Click. Click. Click to the top.
Here we are at the peak of this coaster. I push pause and glance down over the incremental moments that brought us here. Some (perhaps many?) of those moments seemed much bigger than they were. Now I can’t even see them in my memory. Yet other moments stand out clearly. Some of the similar ones merge together. There were days and seasons that felt like our coaster car would let loose, sending us on a terrifying descent. But it didn’t. Our Father held us, and moment by moment, day by day, prayer by prayer, he carried us up.
Each year of motherhood brings new perspective in how we see our children, our God, and ourselves. Not that we can see the future, but that we know our children better, seeing them develop into their God-given personalities with strengths and weaknesses dually used to point them to their Creator. Each year reveals the same self awareness to us as mothers. We see our strengths – what we do really well as moms and thanking God for the gift of reflecting his love to the little humans he’s entrusted to us. We see our weaknesses – the sinful patterns we fall into revealing our need for grace and bowing our heads to humbly confess we need our Father’s help to parent well.
A few years ago I was chatting with my mom about parenting. “It’s when they turn eight,” she said. “Time goes by even more quickly after their eighth birthday.” When my friends gathered at that city pool in July to celebrate me turning eight, my baby brother was four months old. Maybe that’s why time flew for mom. She had a daughter mid-way through elementary school and a baby at home. Fast forward to when that baby boy turned eight and this big sister got her driver’s license. And time, for mom, continued to fly.
The passing of time is mind boggling to me. Some unknown wise soul framed time in this context that I can comprehend. The days are long but the years are short. I have been a mom for a decade, or 3,660 days at the time of this writing to be exact. How some days can feel so long and full years can fly by in a flash is a mystery my mama mind will doubtfully ever understand. But here is what I do know.
The length of our years and the duration of our days are measured in moments, not minutes.
Moments God has taught, revealed, guided, provided, whispered, convicted, smiled, and loved. Both us and our children. Through the turns, climbs, slopes, and loops, God is with us through the wild ride of motherhood.
Through the ups and downs.
Through the adrenaline of the climbs.
Through the thrills of the descents.
Through the jolts of the unknowns.
Through the sickness of circumstances that leave us upside down.
From my little coaster car, I see a fun, yet a bit scary, ride ahead. We are gearing up for pre-teen years, then teenage years, and in a flash my boys – these brothers born on the same day – will be young adults and a new ride will begin. I know there are twists and turns ahead, yet I can’t quite see them and don’t know how big they’ll feel – for me, for my boys, for our family. That’s part of the ride, isn’t it?
After a decade on the wild ride of motherhood, this is what I know:
There are times you close your eyes and hang on with all your might.
There are times you raise your arms and feel the joyous thrill.
And there are times you smile your best smile for the hidden camera within your child’s heart.
Enjoy the ride, mama. Enjoy the ride.