Did you do anything to mark Groundhog Day this year? Yeah, me neither. Wait, I take that back. We shoveled the driveway and scoffed at the prediction of an early spring. On the heels of a week filled with –25 degree weather and other unsavory records, I’m not holding my breath.
But the idea of days endlessly repeating themselves, groundhog style, has been floating through my mind lately, especially as we have unequivocally entered the phase of toddlerhood. I suppose it shouldn’t be shocking that “Again!” plays such a starring role in our days, since repetition is a child’s primary method of learning. But I still find myself surprised at my little man’s ability to never tire of his favorite things.
Novelty, it seems, is lost on small children. When Graham and I are driving in the car, we like to sing songs together (he doesn’t seem to mind that I’m perpetually off key). I try to expand our repertoire of songs, but his current obsession is “Deep and Wide”—a song I learned in Sunday school as a kid. I have no idea what hooked him on this particular tune, but he will say “No, no, no” to every other song I cycle through until I finally give in and sing “Deep and Wide,” on endless repeat.
There’s an old saying that was allegedly first said by a rabbi. To me it sounds more like something the parent of a toddler might say, but I suppose it applies whether you’re doing rabbinical things or wiping faces and bottoms forever and ever, amen: “Do not be afraid of work that has no end.”
The theme I chose for 2019 is “Be Present.” With less than two years of parenting experience under my belt, I’m already realizing how true it is that these are “the longest shortest days.” I don’t want to miss the right-now while looking ahead of me or behind me. I want to show up. I want to seize the little moments, the in-between moments, the blink-or-you’ll-miss-them moments.
Sometimes I think we look for meaning in the big events—the vacation, the holiday, the next big thing. But it turns out that most of the moments we end up treasuring most sneak up on us while we’re in the midst of doing work that seems to have no end.
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, Do it again; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough. . . . It is possible that God says every morning, Do it again, to the sun; and every evening, Do it again, to the moon. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.G. K. Chesterton
How do you choose to be present in your life? What tips do you have for me in the year ahead?
Did you choose a theme for the year? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
Kristen Joy Wilks says
Oh, Stephanie, you are so wise to decide to hold dear each wild and rowdy, terrible and lovely moment as they occur. With my boys 11, 13, and 15 I am shocked every day at how grown up and handsome they are and why why why don’t they want to play trains anymore? Now it is cross country and band and writing stories where everyone dies and learning to snowboard and snowball fights and board games and video games and hiding my hairbrush in my snow boots so I will step on it and scream. These are just as amazing and lovely and pesky and delightful as the train days, but the memories are bitter sweet because the train days are gone. But I rejoice in the pesky days as you rejoice in deep and wide!
All your boys are in double digits! Wow. I love that they still have a bit of mischief in them. 🙂
Kathy Bostrom says
Dear Stephanie, at least you are realizing the need to cherish the moment while the moment is still there! Some days are so hectic, perhaps we can at least seize one moment of that day to cherish as we race through everything that needs done. I love the Chesterton quote. You always write with such wisdom, faith, and joy!
I love that, Kathy–seize one moment from every day! Thanks for the wise words.
I appreciate every word you write, Stephanie. And any news of your precious boy is such a reminder of great joy.
Thank you, Maggie! He is such a prayed-for boy!
Yes dear Stephanie,, you are in the longest shortest days…This season is so high ,can’t get over it, so low can’t get under it, so wide cant get around it! Motherhood lasts a lifetime and is never mastered and never finished, and is often drugery followed by dissapointment. But it’s also percolated with extraordinary sparks of sheer wonder! And that spark is something you understand so very well. Carry on Momma! You’ve got a cheerleader in me!
YOU should start a blog, my friend! What a lovely words! Thanks for the encouragement.