I find myself contemplating the end of my *mothering preschoolers* stage of life. Since the age of 21 I have been caring for my own darling tiny children, truly, the work of raising them up has been the joy and purpose of my life, so far. I know that mothering never ends as long as I have children to love, but there is something so sweet and tender about the preschool years.
I’ve loved all seven of them with a love that surprised me. When I wrapped my arms around them and held them close, breathed them in, it did something to me that I will always remember. Does God give children to us because they need us or because we need them? Oh how much I have learned in being a mama.
Now that the older six are in school, it is just Sarah and me at home during the day.
(I’ve given her a bath this morning. Her hair is pulled back in a pony tail now, and she has a sparkly elastic headband around her hair. It has five stars on it. She’s sitting on the couch looking at one of her brother’s Star Wars books. We’re listening to Elizabeth Mitchell music. “You are my flower, you’re blooming there for me.”
She just put the book aside. “There’s no girl in this book.” she complained.)
We went for a walk on Friday and she was crying at the end of it because she was tired, but we enjoyed it anyway and talked about it together all weekend. Three of our four cats came with us and I realized that next year at this time, when Sarah Joy is in Kindergarten, I’ll probably be filling up this blog with pictures of my cats.
As Sarah and I walked, the cats ran past us and one time Sarah almost got knocked over by Billy. If we stopped, they stopped, or climbed a tree. They chased each other and did unexpected things. Walking with Sarah and three cats felt a little bit like 5 years ago, walking through the woods with five little ones and a baby in my arms. (when I was still homeschooling)
We saw some mushrooms. It had rained the day before so they were damp. This one was so very shiny that we bent to touch it’s top and discovered it was very slimy. When we lifted our finger off it a string of thick goo came up, too.
My friend Bobby Jo asked me recently if I had ever seen a “fairy ring” of mushrooms and we came close on this walk. I suppose you could call this a “fairy half-ring”.
And then we saw several of these on the trail under the oak trees in the forest.
Puff ball in Aspic or, “calostroma cinnabarinum”
It was the first time I observed them at this stage, just ready to PUFF for us.
Sarah had such fun pinching each one over and over until all the puff was gone, the round orange tops were dry and felt similar to thin rubber.
I carried acorns and other little forest things home in the pocket of my shirt (now surrounding a pillar candle). Sarah worried about losing the cats and eventually gave way to tears. Thankfully she got tired within sight of the house and with some encouragement and we all made it home for a nice nap.
“Oh Lord, thank you for the life you have given me. Help me in the sadness I feel in the ending of these busy years of mothering tiny children. Help me to feel contentment and gratitude that it happened, and not grieve too much, that it’s almost over. Help me to remember that these years have not been easy and there is much to be glad about in moving on to the next stage, such as never having to buy diapers again, (which is all I can think of at the moment). Thank you that in mothering the helpless I have learned so much about YOU, because that is what you do for me. In my weakness you make me strong. When I am hungry you feed me. When I am thirsty you give me drink. When I am sad you comfort me. You are my rock and my salvation, I honor and praise you, Jesus. Amen”
“Children are not angels, and yet they bring from heaven to earth many fragments of loveliness. Their influence in a home is a benediction. They soften hearts and change the whole thought of life in their parents. It is no more of self. They begin to live for their children. The children open love’s chambers. They train their parents in patience, gentleness, thoughtfulness. While a young child is in a home a school of heaven is set up there.” J.R. Miller