If a perfect weekend around here includes time with our older kids, lovely weather, good music, and some fun and frolic thrown in for good measure, then no.
This was not a perfect weekend.
It started strong. On Thursday night, Anna Kate and I went to a Gospel concert. One of my friends sings in the only all-female Southern Gospel quartet in the nation. Based right here in Minnesota. What a delight to hear their rich voices lifted up in praise. I'm already starting a song list of requests for their next album.
To add to the excitement of going to a concert, a real concert - the first I've gone to since Josh Garrels was here a year ago - my husband watched the baby all by himself. He balked at the idea. He wanted Anna Kate here for back-up, he knew he'd have a long night of it. He got pep-talk texts from my friend Vicki, who is so kind and gentle. "Tell him I know he can on the dad sitting! He's done much harder things in his life I would think! He can do it!"
Me: "He doesn't want to be stuck here."
Vicki: "Tell him it's good character building for him. It will be real handy down the road for something! Good male bonding time with son too!"
Yep. They stayed, they played, they bonded.
But after the concert, things devolved.
Meaning, my comfort was compromised.
Meaning, I was bored and busy at the same time.
On Saturday, I would have liked to tackle the perennial beds, but instead I played basketball with Malachi. This is how we play: he chases down the six basketballs, judiciously going from ball to ball in turn. As he brings them to me, I lift him as high as I can, which is not high enough. Then I hoist the basketball and try to make a basket, while struggling to keep a grip on my 32-pound boy. Then I set him down, he trundles off for the next ball, and we do it again. And again. There is no limit to the fun he has. He could do this all. day. long.
As for me, the fun has a limit. On the low side. Maybe after about five baskets, I'm ready to move on.
Here are Caleb and Malachi on Resurrection Sunday. You betcha, I miss my big kids. They are fantastic with the baby, they know how to talk, they can reach the hoop. You would think I'd be over the moon that Caleb is in med school. Sure, it's great, it's an answer to prayer, he's going to be an excellent doctor. But when I see this picture, I am just so grateful that I raised a young man who can play basketball, all by himself.
Oh this face, this adorable face. These years are as fleeting as those pretty flowers he's smelling.
And you know, there are days when I want to freeze time. When it's all so wonderful and beautiful that I want this moment, this exact little slice of time, the one that whoops! just passed me by, to last forever.
When we're all together and Malachi hears us laughing, and he does whatever he's doing again and again, thinking we were laughing at him.(and now, we are).
When his sturdy little body is napping next to me, and I can smell his soft clean baby smell.
When he strangles my neck by draping across me as I try to do Pilates. Oh wait. That's the part I don't actually want to freeze. It's painful (though kinda funny). It means that another thing on my list is not going to get done today.
It's almost embarrassing, how much I want to make my life comfortable and easy. Even after five kids, I wrestle with letting go of my schedule, my desires, my avenues of amusement. I feel like this life is a long exercise in loosening my grip. The Lord is continually prying my fingers off the things that I hold so tightly. (Yah, now you're singing "Let it Go" from Frozen. Nope, I'm not gonna give you that song. I'm leaving you with one from my friend's quartet, Sweetwater Revival).
Here's to the week ahead, my friends. To what we get done, and to what gets done in us.
"Our Lord Jesus did the will of His Father with delight. He hated the iniquity which so often tries to dominate us -- selfishness, surrender to the easy, and so on. Therefore He was the gladdest of all the sons of men. The same law applies to His followers. Who among us can be counted on for happiness? It is those who never take self into consideration at all. They are the happy ones of a family." (Amy Carmichael)
And now for some Southern Gospel: here is "Blessed Assurance," sung by Sweetwater Revival.