Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Golden Years

While we were in Michigan visiting my family, we spent some time visiting my 93-year old grandfather in the assisted living center. What wisdom the most seasoned citizens can offer us! As my grandpa was sharing stories of days gone by, I asked him what he would say was the best time of his life--if he could go back to any time period, what would it be and why? At nearly 100, he had lots of years to choose from. Do you know what he said were his favorite? "When the kids were little. Those were really the golden years, the best of times."

Here I am in the thick of it with three extremely energetic boys--4, 2, and 11 months, just trying to make it through each day and get a few things done around the house while simultaneously breaking up fights, cleaning up messy bursts of creativity (who knew dry milk powder could form a sandbox on the kitchen floor? Leave it to my 2 year old to figure out!), and of course--the big stuff, teaching them about the Lord and training them in righteous character while trying to keep my own character somewhat in tact! But I'll admit, most days leave me quite frazzled. And you know what? The wisdom of my grandpa's perspective really challenged me to savor even the really hard days. Because someday if I make it to 93 and can reflect on my favorite years of life, I bet that I--like my Grandpa--won't choose to go back to my childhood, or the days of early marriage with no kids, or when the kids are old enough to help more with chores, or when they're grown and out of the house--I will choose to travel back to "the best of times": when the kids were LITTLE. Where I am now. The Golden Years. 

Sure there's weariness and frustration, but also so much joy and wonder. No other time in all of life is marked by such great discoveries occurring so rapidly. A baby learning to smile, clap, and laugh to his core; a toddler learning new words and putting new phrases and then sentences together everyday; the emerging personalities and antics of our preschoolers. I know that years from now, I will long for the days of baby shampoo and baby smiles, toddler tales, and preschooler projects that always seem to spill over throughout the house. The messes that happen today won't seem like such a big deal tomorrow. They may even make us smile. Since we can't get this time back, let's enjoy--even savor--each day. Like a teeter totter, let's aim to go light on the weariness and exasperation of parenting and heavy on the joy and wonder.

I hope this perspective from my Grandpa encourages you as it did me!

"God wants to fill our homes with happiness. He made childhood joyous, full of life, bubbling over with laughter, playful, bright and sunny...We should put into their childhood days just as much sunshine and gladness, just as much cheerful pleasure as possible. Besides the way also to make them strong and noble in character when they grow up to manhood and womanhood is to make their childhood and youth both bright and happy...Pour the sunshine about them in youth; let them be happy; encourage all innocent joy; provide pleasant games for them; romp and play with them; be a child among them. Then God's blessing will come upon your home, and your children will grow up sunny-hearted, gentle, affectionate, joyous themselves and joy-bearers to the world." (The Family by J.R. Miller)
*The Family is a beautiful book, full of much encouragement and great insights, that I
will share more about in days to come!

(And don't forget to enter yesterday's drawing for a free autographed copy of "A Life that Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open your Heart & Home to Others!)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, that really encouraged me!