I always dreamed of growing up, marrying a wonderful man, and having a bunch of babies. I would have a pretty house and I would bake cookies often. Everything would be bliss (because of all the babies and cookies, no doubt).
I’m thankful for the dream. I’m thankful I had high hopes and high expectations and I’m very thankful that God said “yes” to so many of my dreams. He could have said “no.” He could have said, “I have something different for you that will be better than your dream.”
But here I am. I’m all grown up with a wonderful man and a bunch of babies. But whoa. Did you know babies don’t stay babies for long? They actually get bigger by the day, and before long, the babies turn into big kids and then, if you can believe it, they become teenagers and then adults. This doesn’t just happen to all those other “older moms.”
In my younger years, my dreams never really took me that far.
I never dreamed beyond a houseful of kids ages 7 and under. I never knew there would be life after Tonka trucks and wooden puzzles. I never thought about being my kids’ biggest cheerleader during high school and college sports or buying them man-sized jeans. I never considered that some day, these babies would grow up and discover talents and careers and their own senses of humor and a personal relationship with Jesus that challenges their “old mom” and helps her to grow.
I never knew that part of the dream would include heartbreak. I didn’t plan for times of sadness or disappointment. All the cookies in the world don’t fix what hurts. As it turns out, living the dream sometimes means crying through the reality, but pushing through together in faith.
And what I really never knew about the dream? One dream brings forth new dreams. As God continues to reveal His work in the lives of my sons and in my marriage, He’s given me new dreams. Dreams for the future and all of the good that is yet to come.
But what I’m most thankful to discover is that the best is not in the dream. It is in the now. The best of the best happens when I choose to love and enjoy and appreciate this moment, today.
The best of the best happens when I’m not dreaming about what is to come, but am instead gratefully loving today’s goodness. See, the place I keep finding myself to be in is the one that I never even knew to dream about in the first place. It’s in the moments…
- My adult son brings a pack of his college friends to our house, and I get to set out the food and be amazed at this new piece of life.
- I hear our grown-up boys reminiscing and laughing over “that time we were little and…”
- We are piled in the living room having our family prayer time and I hear the hearts of my boys as they talk to their Father.
- I see my boys serving others willingly or taking leadership or speaking kindly to someone.
This is the dream I didn’t even know to dream. I look at what I have (laundry piles included) and at where I am (often at the kitchen washing a sink full of dirty dishes) and I think, “This is what I would have dreamed about had I even known it was a dream to be dreamed.”
I didn’t know to dream this. But God knows perfectly well. He knows each of our needs and so often, He even provides for our desires. Sometimes He says, “no” but often He says, “Yes, and also…” because He has more to offer than we know to long for.
Some of Asa’s college soccer teammates around our kitchen table…
Hanging out with college students after dinner with about 4 gallons of ice cream…
Our living room filled on the eve of “National Pancake Day.” I made 12 batches of pancakes that night…
and a few more pounds of food just in case we ran out of pancakes…
I didn’t even dream about days like this. It never even crossed my mind. How amazing of God to give it to me anyway.
Dream big, my friends. But mostly, trust that God has good plans for your future, resting peacefully and joyfully in this moment, today. Focus on His Kingdom purpose for you. He’ll give you more than you’ll ever know to dream.
K Ann Guinn says
What a wonderful reminder! I too, have sons who are getting older than I ever imagined (not that I didn’t expect them to get older; I just, like you, didn’t quite think that far ahead). It’s both scary and exciting seeing them grow up, learning to let go, and dreaming about a new future. Thanks again for sharing.
Charlotte Moore says
Very good read! HE knows what is best for us.
Thanks for the reminder about trusting in God to know what is best for us. Needed that today!
thank you for this reminder. i have 4 under six and its hard sometimes not to get frustrated over the circle of diapers laundry and dishes. i have a off subject question. do you have any tipsor advice for bad attitudes and whining and being irritable toward siblings etc. we have been dealing with alot of this
My best advice (as we continue to deal with this at our house too, even with older kids) is:
*Never allow the child to get away with the bad attitude/whining, etc. We don’t always feel we need to punish the behavior, but we do call it out and ask our child to step it up, letting them know (gently or firmly, depending on the need) that the behavior is not okay. Sometimes punishment is necessary when just words aren’t getting the message across. When the boys were little, this meant that they lost their dessert privilege for the day. “Since you weren’t talking sweet, you don’t get sweets.” Now the punishment is losing their phone for the day, because that punishment most certainly speaks to teenagers. :)
*We try to bring scripture into the words and instruction we say so that our kids know that not only is that behavior not acceptable in our family, but that God calls us to something higher. Our favorite scripture to use is, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with one another.”
Nothing has been a magic fix, and sometimes it feels like the battle is constant. But as our kids grown, we’ve seen them become more kind, more at peace, and more able to turn their bad attitudes around without our prompting because they’ve been taught the skills to do it.
Your stories and pictures remind me of my 5 kids’ high school and college days in York. Wonderful times! I am so glad you are enjoying these blessings. Love you.
Love you, Carol. You are always such an encouragement and inspiration to me.
Brandette W. says
This is a GREAT post, thank you for the insight and sentiment.
I have one son who is 6. He is in 1st grade now. I often miss and think about the young baby days. I fail to realize that there will be so many new adventures, fun times, and wonderful memories to make with him even as he is growing so big so very fast. This is hard to remember to do. We often long for what we don’t have.
But, I very recently had 2 great memory making days with my little one and just tonight was thinking about how him just maturing a little bit made those days so much fun.
I don’t even have the words to say how much I enjoyed this post. Love!
Thank you, Laura! My three boys are becoming men before my eyes and it’s humbling! We just had a baby girl and it’s a whole different ball game. Was thinking about the reader that is dealing with bad attitudes and whining. My hat is off to you, you’re doing better than you know! Some things that help us when we’re caught in that yukky mood cycle to are for me to realize that mommy sets the tone (if I’m grumpy or feeling “put upon” they seem to catch the bug, unfortunately). Starting the day with a good breakfast (protein) and cheerful worship music help tremendously, as does limiting screen time (ours bicker the more tv they watch or device time they have, even solid programs). Plus getting enough time outside and early bed times (especially for mom’s sanity!). Gentle reminders about being kind and cooperating because we’re a family and team are often needed at our house, and sometimes we’ve had to remove a toy for a while if they fight over it (we tell them that they’re getting along is more important to us than a toy, as are using kind words to each other). Hang in there, it does get easier, especially when you’re not changing stinky diapers and feeding little mouths around the clock! Also, don’t feel guilty for doing what you need to to make things easier for yourself right now (disposable paper goods, very simple food, etc). May the Father strengthen and uphold you in his grace.
That was beautiful, Laura. Thanks for the encouragement!
tracy McCullough says
Thank you so much for sharing your heart! I am on that same path. I get sad and nostalgic sometimes missing my little boys. It is like learning to be a parent all over again! I am slowly growing into this new mom role. Thanks for your wonderful perspective. I will take it with me as I go through my days.