Finding contentment

Dear Future Self,

I’m curious, do you remember the winter of 2019?

We had more snow on the ground than I had ever seen in my life. And with the snow came lots and lots of ice and cold and wind. So much ice. So much cold. So many days off of school. Six in three weeks, to be exact. And let me tell you, it was not all sunshine and playdough. Allow me to refresh your memory:

The days were long and the hours of sunlight short. There were times when you were sure if you heard the word “Mom” one more time you’d go sprinting from the house, even if doing so meant running barefoot through the snow. The bickering between the kids led you to question your attempts at instilling kindness and patience in your offspring. You calculated the combined total hours of screen time each day, wondering if it was a healthy amount and rationalized that just maybe, given the circumstances, a little extra might be okay.

Do you remember the day your youngest got the “Happy Birthday Song” stuck in his head and couldn’t stop humming it no matter how hard he tried (or how many times his siblings asked, er . . . told, him to stop)?

Do you recall enlisting the help of little fingers to tear three layers of old wallpaper from the upstairs hallway, simply because you literally needed a change of scenery?

Do you remember the day you returned from a long family weekend up north, desperate for a break from the constant questions and needs to fulfill, only to find that school was canceled the following day?

Do you remember how you tried so hard to be everything to each of them, to entertain and make the day fun and out of the ordinary and then found yourself practically in tears over your afternoon coffee feeling like a complete failure as a mother?

Oh yeah. Those  were the days. Or were they?

So you may be wondering why I feel the need to write these things down for you now. Why remind my future self of the frustrations, the housebound days when everyone’s tempers were short and you were desperate for a hot, uninterrupted shower and kids who loved to read quietly in their rooms for hours on end?

Because I know you.  And I know that you have read countless blogs and articles about loving the little years, savoring each moment with your children while they are young and resisting the temptation to wish away this season of motherhood. And, even though you may not remember it now, you thought about that a lot when they were young. You feared that your heart might never recover from having to let these children go and grow up. You wondered how you’d ever watch one of them walk down the aisle without standing up and shouting, “No! I’m not ready.”

And as I think about you (future me) now, a mom with grown kids, I wonder what you will remember. I hope it’s all of the good and very little of the bad. I hope it’s the sloppy kisses from your sons and the suffocating hugs from your daughters. I hope it’s the wonder in their eyes when they see just how much snow fell overnight and the ear-to-ear grins as they get their sledding path just right out in the backyard. I pray that you look back on these years I’m living now and smile.

But this is what else that I hope: I hope that you are thankful for your current season too.  I hope that you remember enough of the challenges to appreciate how far you’ve come, how far they’ve come, and how much you’ve all grown. And just how perfectly your heavenly Father equipped you for this insurmountable, incredible calling of motherhood. He’s walked beside you on the good days and carried you on the trying ones. I hope that, even though you may miss aspects of the chaos that surrounds me now, you also appreciate the quiet in your house and the still-yet-hot cup of coffee in your hands.

Yes, those were good days. But they weren’t perfect.

Those are still yet to come.

Love,
Younger Me

“He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Melissa Anne Kreuser and her husband, Michael, have two sets of identical twins ages five and eight. This article was originally published on holyhenhouse.com, a blog for “imperfect women spurred on by God’s perfect grace.”

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