I realise I’ve not been doing much lengthy writing around here lately. The truth, unsurprisingly, is that life is a little full around here! I was going to say busy, but that can often give a negative connotation. Whilst every single moment is not necessarily joyful- the usual struggles and challenges of everyday life apply here as in anyone’s house- busy would really be meant in a good way. The summer holidays are here, three little ones are underfoot and actually each time this happens I remember how much I love being home with them, tantrums and all.
People are asking- how’s three? And three, three is good, challenging, wonderful, tiring, rewarding- just as parenting one, then two was before it. Every stage and season, every day almost, you are readjusting, realigning, refreshing and regrouping. These littles ones just change so quickly- it keeps you on your toes! I found being at home with just Phoebe for that first year of her life (before going back to university when she began nursery a couple of mornings) honestly really intense and hard at times. I like that they can play (or fight) together, I like that it’s not just the two of us in one room trying to think of ways to pass X-number of hours. This time around, babyhood has been pure sweetness, even the night-time wakings and the food thrown everywhere and the huge numbers of nappies. Third time around, there is very little space for dithering and wondering- we have trodden this path before and Amelia is happy and smiley and so so lovely to be around (almost all of the time!). Let’s just hope that the terrible-twos third time around won’t be so terrible!!
Three small people, and in September there will be only two for most of the day. Phoebe is so, so excited about going to school, and so ready for it. I think she will thrive but my own heart needs to keep letting go, of course. It reveals how much I like to be in control when I realise that so much of her time I will know very little of. But then I remember that she’s entrusted to us by God- and I trust that He looks after her no matter whether she is in my presence or not. God knew what he was doing, unsurprisingly, throughout this whole story. He isn’t in the business of making mistakes- and even though we may not be able to see his view of things we know it’s for good. When He orchestrated our marriage, our family, jobs and where we live. When He answered a prayer about the future of our family should look like with a third baby. He knew everything and continues to show us the path forward.
I’m already slightly nostalgic for the days of preschool- ‘where am I going today? Am I going to preschool? Can I take my lunch?’ ‘I’m so excited!’ making the lunch in the morning, the questions about what might be inside. The twenty minute puzzle each day to find everyone’s shoes and socks (and bags and coats and hats) and get them all on the correct people. Amelia in the front of the pram, having hopefully had a short nap at home already, helmet located, scooter ready. Creaking that ever grumbling patio door open, shut again, locked, and pushing over the bumps of stepping stones to the gate. That pathway, through the seasons- hawthorn, cows parsley, stinging nettles, tiny blue flowers peeking amongst the join between the pavement and the corrugated iron shed wall. Taking that well stepped route, behind growing legs pushing that scooter along, past frosty leaves and budding branches, generous bouquets showering us with morning colour and greenery celebrating the vivid blue that opened up above us. We will step those steps again, but not in the same way. Not with the same, little legs, but bigger ones- and for the next few months preschool won’t even get to be on our pathway at all, just a place to smile at on the way past.
School is coming, but first we have a few more weeks of summer. They are filling up fast, and I know I need to load as many joys into this heart of mine as I can to sustain me through the darker, colder winter. For sunshiney adventures big and small- the memories and hope of which can help me appreciate and embrace the next season. I am still writing, more often with a pen, or telling stories with my loom and yarn instead. I’m opening doors into well loved fiction books, and now Amelia is sleeping through (hooray!) I am trying to go to bed earlier and rise before them. Somehow most days their radar knows and wakes them, but the days I have five minutes alone in my Bible are worth it!
Digging into this season with all of them at home reminds me just how much I love being here, doing this. It’s important to take half an hour here and there when they sleep to recharge by creating, reading or writing- it’s tempting to wish for more time for those things but actually I love right here, right now. Embracing those pockets of time means filling up and then being able to serve better throughout the day. Stewarding the gifts God has given, in marriage, little ones, home, creativity and the many other things, it’s a balance and one that sends me to Him daily to refine my heart. It’s a privilege to be able to have three little lives to speak into and that’s a great joy and challenge. I learn so much from them, and as much as I try to shepherd their hearts towards God my own heart is shaped along the way.
Embracing the everyday doesn’t come easy – many days lies whisper – lies about the ‘shoulds’ of life, lies that how we wake up feeling will dictate the joy of our day, or lies of comparison. Focusing on truth amidst those lies is a choice that has to be constantly made, chasing the light and remembering that we don’t have to be perfect. We already have someone who is perfect for us that we can look to for our strength and refuge. May we follow his footsteps through each season.