All year I’ve been pondering about this big elephant that moved in with us. You see, in early 2011, I lost my job. It wasn’t a death sentence or an awful illness, it was a job. Nevertheless, it has been difficult for our family.
However, it has also been an opportunity. A chance to get to know my family again. A chance to engage more in the everyday stuff that captivates my kids. A chance to remember to slow down and live every day to the fullest, breathing in the moments as they come, not fly by them in anticipation of the next deadline to meet.
That has been a huge blessing. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. Like the apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:11, being content in whatever the circumstances is key. As time goes on, we have the benefit of hindsight to see how God is working all things together for us. That is the viewpoint I’m seeing this from now.
And last night, I saw the culmination of this revelation in a span of 90 minutes with my 8-year-old daughter. We had finished up dinner and the dishes. She decided to pull out about a dozen photo albums, pictures mostly of when she was a baby and toddler.
“Mommy, let’s look at pictures,” she declared! And, because I’ve been able to slow down and recognize those opportunities to do something unplanned, we did. And it was memorable! We laughed, told stories, cried, and laughed some more. Somewhere in the middle of it all, my son, 11, came upstairs to see what was going on. Sure enough, HE joined in and we spent more time looking back through the precious books together.
Later, when they were going to bed, my daughter said, “that was fun.” I knew it meant something to her. It definitely meant something to me.
Years from now, when they are off at college and I’m doing whatever it is I will be doing, I’ll be able to look back on this time and remember the nights like that one. When we made memories because we had the time, and took the time, to do so. You know what? They will remember them, too.
That’s what makes family a family. Not a house, not a job, not some other “thing” you can name. It’s time, love, attentiveness, laughter, tears and togetherness.
This year may not have been anything like I would have planned it to be. But it was truly a blessing. And, with that, I am very content.