Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What is Fleeting--And What Isn't

They sat on the couch in the early evening light: Abby snuggled into Daddy's side, Ben resting his head just under Daddy's chin. Josh read the book aloud, and the kids--content in their father's arms--grew still, and quiet. I watched them from the nearby chair, memorizing the picture, reveling in this little miracle of family, already feeling nostalgic for this togetherness, knowing they will not always tuck in so close.

Even as I wrestle with this sense of fleeting time, I remind myself that we are in this moment now, enjoying our children at this age, savoring this era's gifts. Time may pass quickly, but we're not missing it. We spend time on the couch with books now, invest ourselves in these moments as they arise, in hopes that we build a relationship that will remain intact regardless of age and size.

Their relationship to us has already changed in the five and three years we have called them ours, but it grows sweeter, richer, with time. The nature of our interactions will continue to change as the kids grow older and more independent, as they are drawn out of the shelter of our family and into the lives they build with their own friends and, eventually, families--and we will miss this time when little bodies fit so cozily, and happily, in our arms.

But I choose not to believe that this evolution of our role will constitute loss, that the future will be any less precious than the present. I am trusting that our relationships will continue to grow ever sweeter and richer as we make space in our days, in our lives, to know them and to walk with them through their worlds.

Sometimes, I watch our kids sleeping, their still babyish bodies sprawled across their beds, their faces infantile in their peacefulness, empty of the day's activity--and my heart aches with love for them, with an overwhelming desire to scoop them up and snuggle them forever. I imagine this urge will always exist, even when Ben and Abby are in the throws of adolescence or watching their own children sleep. But while they may not climb into our arms in ten, twenty, or thirty years, our love can provide the same strength and kindness, the same respite and security, then as it does now. Indeed, I pray for the grace to make it so.

In the meantime, though, I'll squeeze them as much as they'll allow while our arms are still their favorite place to be.

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