Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reliving A Lazy Summer Evening

Late afternoon sun transforms short boys into tall ones who run races across the back lawn, their impossibly long shadows hinting at the grown men they will become only too soon.

But that time has not yet come.  The sun sets, gibbous moon rises, and manly shadows shrink back into the frames of two small boys who beckon me to leave the chores of adulthood and, instead, be a partner in their childhood pursuits.

"Swing us, mommy!"

Between watering fledgling azaleas, I walk over and give each child a push or two before moving the hose to the next bush, but this is not what they want, not really.

They desire my full attention, not just part of it.  And so the singsong begging continues, now with daughter joining in to make a three-part harmony.

"Swing us, mommy!  Swing us!"

Cheers erupt when I announce I'm done watering for the evening.

I push each in turn. Back and forth, back and forth.  Now higher, now not high enough.

"Sing the Moses song," demands Wyatt.

For the past two weeks, I've been teaching the children the Ten Commandments with a song I remember from my own elementary school days.  With our days of the week, months of the year, and books of the Bible songs, Wyatt has already learned that adding a tune to basic information is an easy way to learn.  And he wants to learn.

As we swing, he requests each of those songs in turn before we branch off, singing every song we can remember.  Any pause is met with a child starting another song or a complaint because I'm pausing.

And in that instant, I am a little girl again, sitting in a white metal frame swing beneath a large oak tree in my parents' backyard.

My mother sits next to me, much taller than I am so that I have to look up to see her face even when sitting down.  My hair is in pig tails and I wear a knit black sun dress with red and pink roses.  As I swat mosquitoes that buzz in my ears and bite my legs, she and I sing the songs of childhood.

"I see the moon and the moon sees me, down through the leaves of the old oak tree..."  When one song ends, another begins.  We sing together, uninhibited, until the darkness completely surrounds us and there are no more songs to sing without repeating.

After the songs stop, she and I just sit, my legs kicking the dusty ground every now and then to keep the swing moving and the mosquitoes at bay.  Daddy has long ago gone inside.  I can see the flicker of the television through the dining room windows even though I can no longer make out my mother's face beside me in the black.

There is only the squeak of the unoiled chain with each far-reaching swing of the pendulum and the ever present chorus of crickets and cicadas both below and above.

This is perfection.  I don't want this moment to end.

But of course, it does with my mother's call for bath time and sleep.

Now, I am the mother who sings until there are no more songs to be sung. Like me, my children live for the moment, in the moment, desiring it to go on and on forever.
The only difference between then and now is I finally understand a mother's call for the routine bath and bed doesn't mean she feels differently from her children.

A mother is just like those little ones--wanting to freeze time and make the moment last as long as possible, stretching it beyond to live in this moment that God has given her, to be thankful and satisfied with what is, not simply looking forward to what is to come.


  1. Being satisfied with what is--that's the real joy. Thanks for sharing and reminiscing. Makes me reminisce as well:)

  2. Very sweet. Very true. Life goes forward.

  3. You are a wise, wise mama.
    And a dear, dear friend.

    Thank you for the ways you mentor through words.

  4. My children are my mentors. Who knew I could sometimes learn more about God from a few moments with preschoolers than I could after an entire hour in the Word. He speaks through ALL things. Grateful.