Milestone moments make it seem life is going by in a blink of an eye. How did we get from there to here? From tiny baby to graduation day? A blink of an eye.
Except it isn’t. It’s millions of tiny moments added together to make the days and years leading here. Some moments seemed like years at the time. While some sped by far too quickly. Just when I thought I could hold onto a moment, a stage, it’s gone. Instead they’re held as memories, a treasure trove of memories.
Yes, I want to weep over the times I didn’t realize how blessed I was to spend my days and weeks and years with my family. The times when I thought about what I was missing rather than what I had. What a waste of those moments.
Family life contains plenty of ups and downs. Not everything is sunshine and happiness. They’re there, but so is extreme tiredness, exasperation and frustration. I remember the baby days when I’d watch out the window for Tim to get back from work so I could hand over to him, so I wouldn’t feel so alone; learning I had a reflex action to catch vomit in my bare hands; combing for lice for hours; dragging all the kids through a store screaming (me included) on more than one occasion.
Joy outweighs those miserable moments. Days playing in the garden, riding bikes, building towers of bricks, holidays, Christmases, birthdays, days out, picnics, beach days, reading stories together, fun days with friends, school plays, parties, making a mess in the kitchen, just simply chatting with them and doing the ordinary stuff of life. Life changing days like the days they accepted Jesus into their lives or got baptised. The list goes on. Often the very worst and the very best times can be had all in one day.
Phoebe is our third to graduate from high school. I remember being so sad when she started school. I missed her. She was my easy-going companion – enthusiastic and eager, full of life, fun. Big eyes. Big smile. Big heart. She paid attention, didn’t miss a thing. Also, she was full of determination to be herself. Over the years she has amazed us at her capacity to learn, retain and use information. Undistracted – almost all the time. It’s a gift God has given her.
By the grace of God, I get to see another graduation, another milestone in our family life. These things I don’t take for granted. It’s an exciting milestone in Phoebe’s life and for what comes next. I’m proud of her and what she has achieved. When we moved country we knew it would be a challenge for the kids in a new school system, adjusting to the Canadian way of doing things. They’ve all amazed us at how they’ve adapted. Phoebe graduates with the highest marks in her year, winning the Governor General’s Medal which is a big deal apparently!
My babies are growing up. As well as Phoebe graduating, my youngest graduates from middle school (junior high) this week and will move up to high school. This week has been full of celebration, but it’s quite an emotional one as well. Some moments to treasure, some will be forgotten.
It feels like my moments with them are running out like sand through an hourglass. One thing I know is I can’t hold on to them as much as I might want to. Not the moments. Not the kids. I can be there for my kids, talk to them, pray for them, love them and help them where I can as they grow and mature. I have to trust God for the rest, for where He will take them. I pray more than any success they chase after God as He loves and pursues them more than I ever can, and they seek his purpose for their life and the gifts they’ve all been given as they move on.
A few weeks ago I read Ecclesiastes, it could be the most depressing book in the Bible. It’s actually a book of wisdom. The writer describes everything as ‘hevel’ which is interpreted as ‘meaningless’ or ‘vanity’ in many Bible translations, but the Hebrew word actually means ‘breath’ or ‘vapour’. The book describes how all the things humans do seem to be a chasing after the wind, how life is often unfair, how even if you live life right sometimes things go wrong. Good things happen to bad people. Bad things happen to good people. The writer does conclude though that the best thing to do is to fear God and keep his ways (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
The word ‘hevel’ has stayed with me for the last few weeks. It describes very well my feeling of moments passing and not being able to grasp hold of them. They’re fleeting. There and then gone. It doesn’t lead me to despair though. It leads me to thankfulness for all I have, for all those treasures and moments, and faith in a God who has our lives in His hands.
So today is a day to celebrate and it’s here, right now.