The other night I lingered a bit longer.
It was a beautiful day filled with an outing for our daughters 18 month birthday (yes, we celebrate half birthdays in our home). I had been planning the trip for a few weeks to go to the famous flower fields since they are only in bloom for just a short amount of time each year. I color coordinated all our outfits, made special bunny ears, packed a picnic and even made cupcakes for the day.
Of course, even with all my planning, there was still the usual running around. Trying to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door seems like a circus act at times. We, of course, ended up leaving about 40 minutes later than what I had originally hoped, but we were on the road and that had to be some sort of success.
Once we arrived we had to stand in line to purchase our tickets. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted two lovely little girls, around the ages of 2 & 5, who had walked in with their dad but were now standing with two women. I couldn’t help but over hear the conversation between the two women and the little girls. One woman said to the older girl “I love the flower in your hair, is that your mom’s?” The other woman replied “Yes, it is her mother’s flower and she is looking down on you and smiling.” What? Could I have possibly heard that right? Cue tears welling up in my throat. Her mother looking down on her? These beautiful, sweet little girls had no mother? I must have heard it wrong…so I kept listening. As the two women continued on in hushed tones I realized what I had heard was correct. The mother of these precious babies had passed away. My mommy heart immediately ached. The kind of ache that made me want to reach out and just hug these girls and tell them that their mom loves them so much (but seeing as though I was a stranger I thought that might be a bit un-welcomed).
The entire day I kept thinking about those girls. The fact that their mother would never get to see them grow up. Never watch them get dressed up for their first prom, fall in love for the first time, hug them when they had their heart broken, kiss them on their wedding day or hold her grand babies. Time is such a precious gift we have been given and too often we take it for granted, I know I do.
While we walked around the flower fields I tried to really capture every moment with my family. I soaked in the bright, warm sun on their faces and the cool wind in their hair. I unknowingly took a couple hundred pictures not wanting to miss a single expression, a twirl of a dress or a jump of happiness. When it came time to sing and blow out the candles I watched intently as our two children bounced and jittered with excitement.
After arriving home it was the usual song and dance trying to get dinner ready, baths done, pajamas on. I knew baby girl was super tired because as we sat in the rocker and she drank her milk she immediately collapsed as I lifted her to my shoulder. Her entire body melted into my neck and I drank in the smell of her skin and hair. It was quite simply the greatest feeling in the world. I wish I could have bottled that moment. I usually have to put her down pretty quickly so that I can get little man to bed shortly after, but tonight, I was in no hurry and I lingered a bit longer. I rocked her and I held her tight and whispered sweet prayers into her ear. I prayed that she know how much I love her and her brother and that even if I wasn’t around forever that my love for them would never change.
I’m usually not the type of mom who says “Oh I wish I could stop time.” or “I wish they would stop growing up.” or “I just want them to stay a baby forever.” That was never me. But for the first time since having a baby, I finally understood. It isn’t that you want them to never grow up, or to stay a baby forever (or at least not in my perspective), but really it is because you are afraid that you might not be around forever to see it all happen.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9