Recently I was watching a mom of three little blonde, curly topped wonders at a picnic and I was reminded of the circle of life that we go through as parents. She diligently sequestered her wonders on a blanket spread across the lawn. Each little one had her own plan of where she’d go and what she’d like to do, but mom had the deciding vote on what would really happen. We move from one Circle of Life to another, often not realizing where one stops and another begins.
When we’re expecting that little bundle of joy we sometimes lay awake at three in the morning while the energetic baby inside plays kickball or jumps rope on the bladder. We just wish we could get another hour or two of sleep. If only he or she were in their bed nearby! But then, as time moves on and that active little one joins the outside world, we are again awakened at three AM to calls for comfort or food or a clean diaper. Who hasn’t wished she could just tuck them back inside to be able to grab a few more winks before the sun comes up!
As we watch them grow, we can hardly wait for that first word to be uttered. “Mama”, “dada”, it doesn’t matter which one! I remember one of my daughters telling our first little girl grandchild, “Just say something and I’ll buy you anything you want!” Eventually that little charmer started talking - and she hasn’t stopped much since! She would chatter on until the very moment she was tucked up tight in her bed and then - SILENCE. Even now, many years later, she doesn’t lack anything in the communication department.
We are so anxious for that first step, the teetering tottering ones that often happen right at the top of the stairs as we held our breath. It seems that in a matter of days, they’re off and running. My mom used to say, “Just put everything on sky hooks!” Get all sharp corners and delicate breakables out of their way. They’re on the move!
School days come before we know it and that little one that we’ve guarded so closely is exposed to a whole new world. Our days are stretched and our hearts are torn, whether they’re jumping on a school bus or being schooled at home, doesn’t make a difference. We still have to figure out how to add one more responsibility to our already overflowing agenda. Nine months of school seems to go by much faster than nine months of pregnancy and all of a sudden it’s summer. The joy of having them close all day is great - most of the time. But moments of boredom, or sibling rivalry can be unpleasant interruptions to the idyllic scene portrayed in books and magazines.
Circles Five, Six, Seven, Eight and so on come in quick succession!
They want to play at a neighbor’s house, have a sleep over, get a driver’s license, go out on a date, get a job, go off to college, and before long they’ve found their soulmate. The one who will make their life complete.
Then, if God grants you the days, you get to watch from the spectators seat as all the Circles of Life start over again.