I remember a time when I was a young mother and I had two toddlers and a baby. Life was busy and I couldn’t see past the piles of laundry, meals needing to be made, dishes to wash, and the constant needs of the three little ones. I often felt alone sitting there. I even complained about it sometimes. It seemed never ending. I was tired.
I would dream of the time the children would reach the next milestone and it would lighten my burdens. Maybe they would learn to tie their shoes, or climb into their chairs by themselves. If only they would be potty trained, or be able to help me with all the many household responsibilities.
It was a world that seemed to revolve around responsibility.
One day as I pulled on my dress over my head for the day. I will never forget that dress. It was red. The top was soft stretchy cotton with buttons down so I could nurse my baby. The skirt that went to my ankles was red and white checkered. I think I looked like a picnic table.
I had long blonde hair that I gathered together into a bun. I always liked the old fashioned look, no matter how matronly I would appear to others. As I woke at the crack of dawn, I started out as any other day, with children huddled around waiting for their breakfast and the news of what we would do for the day.
That particular day, I had planned to make another trip to the Amish. If you read my Memoir, I spent many days with the Amish to learn their ways. The kind Amish woman I would learn from was a bit older. All of her children were grown and most of them had families of their own. She saw me struggling with the little ones. She could tell I was stressed out from it all and she gave me some advice that I still hold to my heart.
“The days are long but the years are short.” She went on to say how she wished all her children were still at home, how the years flew past. I saw a tear welling up in her eye as she urged me to slow down and enjoy this season.
It was something I NEEDED to hear at that time in my life. I understand more now than ever what she was doing. She was teaching the younger women. I was that younger woman. She was the TITUS 2 woman of the Bible, teaching the younger women to love her children. She taught me lots of things; sewing, baking, gardening, canning, and many other home keeping skills needed for my journey.
I did slow down. I started to change my perspective and take time to hold my babies close and cherish all the things of life with them. We baked together and sewed together. Everything we did, we did as a team. They were my canning or cleaning buddies.
And one day they were all grown. She was right. It did fly by. Before I could blink my eyes I was watching my daughters walking down the isle to their husbands. It happened so fast. When they were teens, I would say, once they are adults, then I could live out so many creative ideas for starting businesses or ministries or anything that I wanted.
I found out they still needed me then. I had laid down so many plans I had because I would see how my focus still needed to be on mothering them.
I have met women that run big ministries and businesses and I had the opportunity to see what it did to them. These things were like their babies that they had to pick up and nurse so often throughout the day. They found thousands who needed them and yet children grow up and they see how busy someone is and they won’t fight for that attention. I did not want that for my family.
I saw the beauty of being the TITUS 2 woman of the Bible. It didn’t need to be me ministering to the thousands of ladies. I had two daughters who were just married. I didn’t need a business. I needed to just be their mother and teach them the little things like about nursing babies, soothing them, or advice on marriage. They still NEED their mother.
Throughout history, that is how it was. Mothers raise children and when the children grow up, if you have made strong bonds, you have the privilege to be the one they call upon for advice. It is an honor that you earn as an aged woman. I am so thankful that I never made myself too busy for them. At the end of days, it doesn’t matter how successful we were at a job, or a ministry and how many people we influenced, non of that truly matters. What matters is family. Those are the people you want around when you are old.
It is a beautiful season being the older woman now. I do have two little ones that I am caring for which has brought me back to that earlier season of mothering again. I am so thankful I have this opportunity because now when I get together with my daughters and their children, it is like a sweet time of fellowship where we all share so many experiences at the same time.
Life is short. Choose to slow down and cherish your little ones. Hold them close. Be available.
Remember, “The days are long but the years are short.”