Our little family is moving house in the near future. There are pros and cons to this, most of which I’ll not be aware of until moving time comes. I don’t know where we’ll be next, but the change in itself is inevitable. And because things will change I’ve been trying to be intentionally mindful and appreciative of the things I enjoy about where we are now – friends and family that live close; great local parks; a bath tub; our most excellent housemate and his most excellent dog; a lovely kitchen with a dishwasher and a matching cutlery set owned by said excellent housemate; and did I mention the bath?
I went so far as to write up a long list of all the things I’m thankful for about our current situation; a grateful list – and it’s mostly little, simple, everyday things. These are the things I’m prone to take for granted, the wallpaper of my life. I want to do justice to the gracious provision we’ve had here and the thankfulness in my heart. I don’t want to miss the little moments that this time and place has so readily offered our family, because it’s all those little things pieced together that make up the big picture, and it’s often the little things that have the most profound impact on my mood, outlook and the way I interact with my family. I want to savor these moments. I want to look out the windows and really see the garden, and intentionally appreciate that awesome dishwasher, and have cups of tea with close-by friends.
For me the temptation is there to peek anxiously over at what tomorrow will bring, but more satisfying is when I take the time to wring out the pleasures that are freely offered in this particular season and appreciate their quality. Change is always coming and tomorrow will be here soon enough. Good things exist over there too, but experience tells me there will equally be heartache. The duality exists in every season, but the lows give us needed comparison for the highs and the solving of a problem can bring a satisfaction not so readily gained when the going is easy. Sometimes I need the struggle to discover grace and provision that suffices, and strength not from myself.
As I’m reflecting I see the connection to my experience of parenting. So many little special things for each space and age and season, and they’ve come hand in hand with the challenges.
It’s the excitement of a positive test and feeling the rollercoaster of first butterfly kicks coupled with morning sickness and exhaustion.
It’s the power and the pain and the awe and the fear of becoming a parent.
It’s the wonder of new life and that newborn smell, standing toe to toe with the physicality of seemingly never-ending nappy changes and feeling bedraggled and touched-out as one cluster feeding frenzy melds surreally into the next.
It’s the first cuddle with a special Aunty or Uncle or Grandparent or sibling when the next minute brings tears and clinginess.
It’s the first smile, laugh, crawl, step – and the first bite, fall, tantrum, trip to the hospital.
And then it’s the delight and privilege of being such a close witness to all those precious little pieces of a new life growing and developing into relationships, enjoyment, communication, enthusiasm, interests and personality. All these wonderfully complicated moments are juxtaposed with their challenging flip-sides, yet they remain lovely regardless. Change is inevitable and every new day presents new challenges, but the challenges do not make the blessings any less rich.
Be still my anxious thoughts. Lord, help me soak in thanks from this season to the next. Help me live a grateful life.
Think I’ll have a bath tonight.
Cat is a follower of Jesus, the tea-drinking wife of a coffee roaster and the stay-at-home mum of one busy toddler. She delights in the mingling of art and science, small and simple pleasures, wit and whimsy, and the doing of life. Her heart is to encourage. When she’s not pottering behind the scenes at Precision Coffee Roasters, you’ll likely find her eating cake, trying new recipes, making lists, or just playing – with or without a child.