On the first day you send your kids back to school after an extended winter break and you bask in the solace of silence, it can feel like you have all the time in the world. It can feel like nothing is insurmountable. It can feel like the world is your oyster. So you make a 14 item goal list for the year. Your first annual goal list ever, and you feel giddy for having done it.
But then you realize to make the 14 item goal list happen you have to make more lists. Lists to get the list done. Then you realize you have to add the items on the list to make your goals happen to the list to simply make it through the day. And suddenly you start to feel overwhelmed, where just a few days before you felt giddy and unstoppable. You start to worry that there isn’t enough time, so you sit up late trying to make time.
And as you are sitting up trying to make time, trying not to stall out before you really even start, you hear the crying, the gagging from his bedroom. Something is wrong. You run into his room and are greeted by rancid air, air that is thick with the expunged remnants of all he had eaten that day, and you want to laugh and cry at the same time.
Is this a test?
Do You want to see how certain my resolve is, God?
Thoughts of hours spent writing and lunches with friends and thank you notes and travel to exotic locales quickly fade away when you are covered in vomit and diarrhea for the fourth time in as many hours, when your child is bent over and crying in agony, knowing that it hurts to let it out, but that it hurts even more to keep it in.
With each new trip to the laundry room, the list to make it through the day starts to crowd out the space for the list to make it through the year. But it doesn’t matter anymore, because there is a sweet child in your arms. A child who looks up at you with eyes rimmed red from exhaustion and tears and whispers, “Mommy, I love you.”
This is where my heart is now.
Where my heart is always.
And you realize this moment is all that really matters.
There will be another time, another moment, for the other things.
So you set the lists aside and let them wait for their moment, as you live this moment.
(This post is dedicated to my mother, who was my hero when I was 5 years old.)