I’m trying to hurry out the to-go door with son in tow; not sure why I’m hurrying. I just always am, even on the rare occasions when I’m actually running early. I believe that dragging my firstborn behind me like we’re perpetually late will somehow make him feel important. Or maybe have him think I’m important. Actually, this is more about me making my self feel important.
Kroger was fresh out of avocados but I now have all the ingredients necessary for a successful taco night and I’m anxious to get this coveted carton of guacamole in the fridge to chill sufficiently by the time Blair gets home from his session.
Our Elijah is in the middle of the “lover stage” of child development, according to Dr. David Thomas, who’s an expert in the field. There are so many crazy-glorious things about little boys during this season of life; their constant expressions of affection, endless sense of wonder and the trusting way in which they do everything they’re asked.
I love the fact that my son always wants to help.. (If you were to tell the future me that one day he might put off chores or roll his eyes when asked a question, I would argue you down to Chinatown.)
My kid won’t even let me carry a carton of mashed Mexican green goodness- I got it Momma. Let me….
He’ll haul in grocery bags twice his size but ya know, he still doesn’t seem to have a clear grasp yet on how time works; how precious it is… I’ve tried to teach him but he still tends to slow things down. He’s young; I’m sure he’ll get it some day.
As we’re clipping through the smoky chipotle pepper haze out to the parking lot, my manchild suddenly stops. Naturally, since his little hand is folded in mine, I’m forced to stop too.
What is it, Lij? Is something wrong? Do you feel ok?”
Momma, look. He’s pointing back toward the restaurant entrance with his “Thank you” to-go bag hand. There’s a bench.
Yes, Son…… and?
Well, I think we should sit down on it.
Oh. Um… but, (I look down at the car, just a few footsteps away in the opposite direction.) You want to sit? now? (But I was so close to checking this chore off my list)
Yes. Can we please?
I never really answer him. My mouth is still open when he squeezes my hand and leads me over to the bench. He motions for me to sit down.
(Well, what happens now?) I wonder to myself. Or maybe I said it out loud. Or maybe he can read my mind.
Let’s just stay here for a while and pause, k, Momma?
Ok, Love. I sit reluctantly on the very edge of the bench (while still standing on the inside) and start tapping my foot to some imaginary inaudible nervous beat. Then I secure my purse strap higher up on my shoulder. I don’t wanna make too big a commitment here and I’m wondering how long will be long enough for Little Guy.
We look around at the parking lot for a minute, then my eyes land on his. He smiles at me; this big out-of-proportion-to -his-face-smile and his eyes are lit up like a couple of Christmas candles. Isn’t this great Mommy? He points his chubby finger to the sky. Look at the stars!
I sink back into the bench and sigh. Pulling my purse strap off my shoulder, I make a conscious decision to RE-LAX. I command my body, Feet flat on the floor, arms down at your sides. The sun is long gone to the west and shades of deep blue are creeping over the concrete sea before us. I look up. The stars are already putting on a show just for two. Yes, Son, you’re right. This is so great.
Later, during dinner, our Lil Punkin’ throws out a classic conversation starter; Everyone tell your hilo. (You know- where you name the high point and low point of your day.)
Blair picks up on the fact that the asker of the question is especially eager about answering so happily, he obliges. Why don’t you go first, Lij?
Elijah shares his low point of the day- making a B on his Latin test. BUT, he adds, my high point was sitting on the bench with Momma…. We looked up and the stars were all shining! You should’ve seen it, Daddy. We had the BEST time!
I stop mid bite of my taco. We sat in front of the Mexican place down the street on a beat up old bench, 2 feet from a cement parking lot gazing up. That’s all it was; the whole thing lasted about 3 and a half minutes… and that’s what my son is choosing to call the highlight of his day.
I don’t know it at the time, but it’s one of the most precious, treasured memories I’ll look back on nearly two decades later.
That day, I got schooled by a six year old on how important it is to break stride once in a while. Some call it Sabbath rest. And I’ve not been very good at it ever. As a direct result of what I learned from Elijah during those 3 and a half minutes on the bench, I recently made the decision to hit the pause button on our podcast, to take a deep breath and savor the fact that we just completed our first season- 39 episodes. Quite a feat for an anxiety-ridden introvert girl who’s technology- challenged!
Pausing feels so different from what I’d expected- I’m not really sure what I expected– but I do know it feels more like a celebration of accomplishment than a burnout breakdown.
One week into my pause, I’m finding that I’m more present with my people this summer than I’ve been in years. Like a traveling artist friend of mine says, when she’s home, she’s “super- home.” And I can already see the shift in me- not just with family members, but with my friends at church and with the young women I mentor and the mean cashier lady at Kroger – this Heylove Haitus is gonna do me good.
Do you find it hard to hit the “pause” button in your own life? Why do you think it’s such a challenge?
As for me, I used to have a hard time relaxing even on vacation. But things are different now. I’m really enjoying this break bc I’m learning how to repent of my restlessness and to trust. Those two; rest and trust – are indelibly connected. After this summer pause, I’ll be anxious to get back to podcasting, refreshed, come fall.
Here’s a little acrostic equation I made up to help me remember a key verse from the prophet Isaiah about the importance of “pausing.”
RR + TT = SS
And here’s what it stands for;
“REPENTANT REST & TOIL-free TRUST equals SAVING STRENGTH.”
My hope for you is that you’re already learning to repent this summer of your own restlessness. That you’re making lots of fun memories, taking time from toiling to pause with your people, trusting God and celebrating all He has done, finding strength and sweet surprises along the way-many treasured moments, countless as the stars.
Till next time,
Heylovepodcast.com And here he is now- almost a foot taller than me!!!