Friday, July 20, 2012

Rearranging the Living Room and My Mindset

Today I rearranged the living room once again. It seems that this is a regular happening in our household for many reasons; making room for the Christmas tree, arranging the room for a party, or as in today's circumstances, keeping young ones safe.

Last Christmas, we made a fortress of couches to corner the Christmas tree, blocking it off from Veronica who was crawling at the time. Veronica's birthday is only eight days later than Joshua's, so we had already been through a Christmas six years prior with a baby basically the exact same age. That December, Joshua and I were sitting on the living room floor together and in a blink of an eye, he had pulled the tree down onto both of us. Neither of us was hurt, but six years later I recalled the incident. Thus the couch fortress.

This week, we now have a climber in our house. Veronica and I were in the backyard one evening, enjoying the sunshine. It was so peaceful while she toddled around and I read my book. Then, I looked up to see that she had climbed up the entire slide. Peace evaporated into panic. Holding back a yell, I sneaked up on her and carried her away from the slide.

Yesterday, she learned how to climb onto the couch by herself. We have a split level house, and one of our couches was up against the half wall, with the hard wood stairs lying below just on the other side. I immediately imagined what would happen if I looked away for a moment as Veronica climbed up onto the couch and over the half wall, only to fall down the eight feet or so down the stairs. Time to rearrange again.

This is parenthood; a constant rearranging of our lives for our children. That is not a complaint, but simply a statement. It surely describes much of the phase of parenthood that we are in right now.

This week it also occurred to me that this rearranging will only last so long. Joshua is going into the 2nd grade this year. In just ten years, he will be a senior in high school. Sometime (hopefully) in the few years after that, he will be ready to set out on his own. How strange. Eventually, our house will become more of our own once again. We will gain back bedrooms, get rid of swing sets and only cook, clean and wash clothes for two.

I often wonder why this is God's design for our lives. At times, I feel that it is somewhat of a cruel plan that we may love our children so deeply only to have to let them go, that we may cherish all of our friends and family so much only to someday have to say goodbye. None of us can understand God's reasoning. Of course, all I can do is trust. Yet, I still try to find purpose in all of it.

And the only sense I can make of this process in all of our lives is this: If we never had to say goodbye, if we never had to let go, then it would be even easier to take our loved ones for granted. It is in the growing of our children and in the mortality we all share that we can fully appreciate and cherish our life now.

And if that isn't enough comfort for me, I reflect and look forward to the eternal life we will all share where we will never have to say goodbye.

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