I am laying in bed with my youngest, watching him sleep. Well, not really sleep. I’m watching him do a pose that mimics a turtle struggling to get off its shell and back on its feet, as he whispers to me that he’s “yoga-ing” and that he would “also like a cookie, please.” These are the moments.
A few months ago, our boys began sharing a bedroom. This was part of Operation: Take Back the House, in which one of the boys’ bedrooms became a playroom, now housing every block, puzzle, toy, and LEGO ever created. Probably some the kids invented, as well. In my efforts to minimize and organize, I’ve noticed LEGOs multiply like rabbits when you aren’t watching. I digress.
When the boys first shared a room, we’d read their bedtime stories, tuck them in, and say goodnight, leaving the room just as we would before they were sharing a space. This led to a week-long adventure that lasted until at least 10pm most nights, and ended with an American Ninja Warrior style furniture moving contest (did you know a three-year-old can move a bed?!) And so, we began staying a bit longer after lights out, to encourage peaceful, restful sleep. Also, to prevent injuries. And nudity. Because that’s also a thing with boys, I’ve learned.
Tonight, I’m watching as Grant slowly relaxes and begins to enter the sleep zone. I notice his soft, blond hair. I marvel at his still-chubby cheeks. I try very, very hard not to laugh when he asks for a cookie (third time). And I cannot help but think how blessed we are.
You think that a lot as a parent…how blessed we are. When you see these children, these lives you’ve been trusted with, and you feel the weight of that responsibility combined with an atom-splitting nuclear love. An unimaginable and indescribable love.
When I stop to consider the science behind creation, it’s really something. The odds of our existence – of those cells combining out of the tens or even hundreds of millions of possible combinations, and they made a person. They made my children. They made you. Isn’t that incredible? You are here for a reason; a purpose. God has a plan for you.
It’s so very easy to feel small at times, isn’t it? With seven billion of us sharing this earth, how could we not feel small? That maybe our voice, our thoughts, our ideas don’t matter as much as those of another. Or that maybe it’s not really important that we follow through with that plan, that idea, those actions, because surely one of the other 6,999,999,999 folks sharing this planet has thought of it as well, so they’ll probably take care of it. Right?
But you matter. Because when you do consider the science behind your divine creation, you should realize how important you truly are. God could have made anyone – ANYONE – but he made you. Your existence was timed and intentional, regardless of what our brains may tell us at times. Your life is very, very big.
We are perfectly imperfect, placed here for a reason, called to a higher calling, to use what we have, whatever that may be, to do good in this world. To make it easier for the other 6,999,999,999 hearts sharing this space with us.
I look at my sweet, now-sleeping boys, and I see their wild and precious lives. I see the tiny humans they are today; I imagine the amazing humans they will grow to become. I realize that we are perfect in our imperfections and that they serve a purpose. I know that we were put here to do big things, no matter where or who we are, because big doesn’t always mean sending a rocket to Mars. It takes just a single raindrop to nourish a blade of grass, but imagine how lost those fields would be without those little drops of rain. Big, right?
One of my very favorite poets wrote:
Who made the world?
The swan and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”
I do find myself pausing, absorbing the world around us, taking in every small thing – the way the flowers burst into being after rain; how the cicadas sing in the warm, humid night; the tiniest of stars, twinkling in the night sky. These things are so wild and so precious, so beautiful and important…and how are we any different? Aren’t we just as wild, our lives just as precious? When did we forget our value, ourselves, our meaning?
I’m watching my boys, and finding I am reminded of the amazing love we were given. The love we should share. It’s bigger than we can comprehend; that’s why we are called to share it. Isn’t that what we should do with our one wild and precious life?