It was a good day, a long, but good day. We went to the park this afternoon for 3 hours with some of my highschool friends and their kids. The kids are finally old enough to remember each other and play together and they so enjoyed running around in the sunshine (yes...sunshine!). I got to actually catch up a little with my friends (well, except when Amanda and her little friend Aven took off and I found them around the restrooms washing their hands in the drinking fountain...moment of panic).
We then headed out to dinner with Mimi and Papa to finish off what I have entitled "Birthday Palooza". April is Shawn's brother's birthday, SHawn's birthday, Shawn's mom's birthday, my neices, birthday, Brayden's birthday and my mom's birthday. Yeah. Craziness. But today was the last, with Mimi turning 60! So, we had our "dillas" at the local mexican joint and headed home.
The kids were tired. This always makes for a relaxing car ride. Less screaming, less questions, less kicking chair backs, less song requests.
I glanced back in the review mirror and witnessed Amanda's eyes flutter and shut as she drifted off. Her little cheeks were rosy, her hair was in a messy bun, with wisps across her face, her head tilted to the side. So sweet, still slightly baby faced. In the background, Gavin was quietly reading a book to Brayden, who was asking questions and listening intently. I wanted to capture the moment.
But...I had to look forward.
It struck me that this is so similar to life. We look in the rearview mirror and see the sweet treasures we have. I see the 6.5 year old who just learned to read and is cruising along a book. Who is thoughtfully showing the pictures to his brother, who catches my eyes in the mirror and smiles.
I see the just turned 5 year old leaning his head in to listen to his big brother. Taking a swig of his newly acquired "rescue canteen" and responsibly placing it next to him with a solid pat.
I see the cherubed face, sleeping contently after a long day of play. Her silky fine hair falling down and creating an overall picture that melts your heart.
I do not see the chaos it was to pack for the park, I don't see the 10 minutes it took to reteach tying shoes, I don't see the argument that ensued over who got the booster. I don't see any of that in the rearview mirror.
I want to stop and stay focused on the sweetness behind me...however, that would probably ensue in a relatively large car crash. If I live in the rearview mirror, my kids will not be prepared for the future. I don't want them to be in a crash...and so, I must look forward.
Somedays, I don't want to look forward. I don't want to leave my babies behind. But I must. I must let them grow up, must teach new lessons, must tackle new problems, must let them tie their own shoes. Sometimes, I think I am ready...especially with the shoe tying. But I can just see myself a few years down the road, when they want some expensive shoe that I want to roll my eyes at thinking, "I wish my biggest concern was just tying these darn shoes!"
In the rearview mirror, you can see the hard times and exclaim..."I made it!" Which, in turn, I believe allows you to focus on the sweetness and all that was good. Looking forward, I don't have the ability to know that I'll make it. To be certain. I like certainty.
I think I know in my heart of hearts, I'll make it. God is too big a God. He is able to do all things. It just sometimes feels like I won't. These are the moments where I just want to stare into that rearview mirror....relish the goodness I see there.
But I really am starting to think, God set up life like a big roadtrip. You must look forward. You will travel in sunshine and blue skies, you will drive through whiteouts and storms, you will have moments where you pull over to soak it in and moments where you floor it to get the heck out of dodge. You will see barren lands and you will encounter majestic, heartstopping views that will scream the greatness of their Creator. And all the while, you will have those times where you glance back to remind yourself of the road traveled...to check on things. And you will see memories of sweet faces, small voices and all the goodness that you made it through...in your rearview mirror.