Do you ever secretly (or not so secretly) long for a different stage of life? Maybe you want to go back to being DINKS (dual income, no kids). Or perhaps you’d like to return to the days of one child instead of four. Or just possibly you’d like to experience life without:
- Two year olds
- Teenage angst and
- Never ending laundry.
Or maybe instead of doing without the above, you’d like to try life with:
- A full night sleep
- Your own package of Oreos
- A sweet little 1 year old who doesn’t talk back yet
- Clean floors and
- Time for yourself
Now that our nest is empty, I actually have all of those things on these lists. (Hey! I feel those jealous glares. Don’t give up. It’s on the way for you too.) But now that I have what my heart used to long for, I’m often nostalgic for those past times. The sweet memories of the way things used to be put a big smile on my face.
I know it’s hard for you mommies of preschoolers to understand why I might want to revisit some of those yesteryears as you stare at the garage door, willing it to rise and deliver your reinforcement. Or you moms of tweens and teens may have a “are you crazy” comment as you run out the door, throw the Taxi light on the top of the SUV and race to the next activity.
Call me super crazy but I even miss the chauffeuring, the backpacks lying around, the shoes scattered under foot and the unmade beds (maybe just a little). Of course, just when I’m knee deep in sentiment, I trip over Tim’s junk and am reminded that the kids may have flown the coop but the rooster is still strutting around leaving his stuff in his wake.
I’m relearning the lesson that I learned at every stage of motherhood – be content with where you are. I’ve discovered that I have to be just as deliberate to choose contentment in this stage of life as I did in the other seasons of my life. Contentment is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
And it starts with gratitude – being thankful in all things. In fact, gratitude is the seed of contentment. When you can be thankful for whatever age and stage you’re in, then you begin to enjoy the things that fill up your life and you actually grow to appreciate them and, viola, you become content.
What are some of the simple things you can be thankful for at this stage of your life? Sticky floors? (You’ve got a roof over your head); Loud music coming from the family room? (Your teenagers’ senses are working fine); A hardworking husband who’s late for dinner? (At least he has a job). You get my point.
Way too often we are so anxious to get through a stage and get beyond a season, somehow under the delusion that the next one will be better than the one we’re in, that we fail to reap the benefits and enjoy the treasures of the time we’re in. Tim loves to remind parents that when it comes to raising our kids – the days are long but the years are short.
Contentment teaches us that life is never perfect but God is always good. Why not make a choice to be grateful for your life as it is right now and usher in the covering of contentment.
Here’s to wanting what you have in order to have what you want,