Children’s tiny footsteps fill the halls at 6am, the joyful pitter patter of anticipation, tiny squeals for the little things to come. Laundry hangs clumsily over the rail, pool toys scarrter the halls, and baby jars sit half eaten in the fridge. My heart almost burst with the fullness of our life, this family that has been building like the waves that crash on the sand.
Yes its different, most nights we head to bed earlier than we used to knowing our kids will be up with the sun. We move schedules, shower last, sleep less, but we also laugh louder, speak sweeter, and reveal in the joy that can’t really be put into words. We do dances when one of the little ones, “poops in the potty”. We celebrate the candy store, batman masks, half painted nails, and we slip away into quiet when we can knowing at any moment we will be greeted by laughter. Yes there are meltdowns and tears and times when the clock ticks too slowly to the seven thirty bedtime but it just makes grow up dinners that much sweeter.
We are all in this new phase of families and parenting and marriage and learning that real life isn’t so much about what you can get but what you can build. I wouldn’t trade the footsteps or the mess for any other life. I see the roads that have led here, sometimes painfully, and I have seen Gods faithful hand whisper to me in the quietest of moments that father is the greatest of words. I have seen the molding of our family, and the painful growth spurts that have caused us to to rally and love a little deeper.
Its a new season yes, but like every season it will usher in the next. Tiny feet will usher into teenage drama and prayers from bended knees of desperation. I am sure life won’t always be this pure but in the days that seem long I can look ahead at my goal. I can see that raising a generation of Jesus lovers starts in my home, behind my doors, and in my marriage. I have come to realize that if influence many for Christ but I don’t give my kids every opportunity to see Jesus in me then I have missed the point. If I manage to write best sellers and speak on big stages but my kids don’t run to me when the tears fall like rain then none of it matters.
I have wrestled with this often, is what I am doing all that important?? I mean who cares if I change diapers, do laundry, keep house, cook dinner? I could be out changing things, saying things, influencing, striving, does the day to day really matter? I believe it does, because memories are made there. Love is formed there, family is formed at dinner tables, and swingsets, in lazy sundays, and sick nights. Family is formed in the mundane and sometimes miserable moments. Because you can’t get here without first being there. You grow into adults and form families of your own and thank the Good lord that your own parents had the audacity to show you the way.
You get to the real relationship. You become a parent yourself and see why it all mattered so much, every lunch note, every spanking, every daddy daughter date because while I fully realize that life isnt a formula I won’t go to the grave with regrets about how much I invested in my family but I might regret how much time I didnt. I wont regret selling less books but I will regret missing preschool graduation and dance recitals. One day I will see that each day meant a lot and maybe one day I will sit in a packed house full of my own kids and praise Jesus for the long days that turned into this.