Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Plate Licker

And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given!
1Timothy 6:20a (The Message)

The happy mother of two boys who had both launched into elementary school was back at work after years of staying home. I loved my new job and was thoroughly enjoying a season of great contentment. During this time, I began to feel ill and became convinced that I had mono – at least until the pregnancy test came back positive. So after thinking that our family was most likely complete, suddenly we launched again into the journey of having another baby. Libby was no mistake, just a surprise. How thankful am I that God is so much smarter than I.

After the typical initial adjustments common to all families who are blessed with a new baby, we began to settle into our new routine of family life. It was fascinating watching Libby grow and seeing how she became not just another child, but kind of our family project. We all diapered, rocked, sang, bathed, and shared the joy of raising her together. As we were approached by people who consistently commented about how excited we must be to “finally get a girl,” I found myself looking for a more accurate word picture that would help me wrap my brain around our new family life.

Leave it to this “live to eat” girl, the picture would be about food, specifically cake. I have always loved cake, but have never been someone to prefer simply cake or simply icing. To me, having one without the other is a certain kind of loss. You need both together to have the best experience. God graciously showed me that the boys were our cake and Libby was the icing. Life would not have been the same if we were missing either one. Though we had been eating just cake for years and loving it, adding the icing was a delightful gift.

Fast forward eighteen years. The boys have been become adults we treasure. Our firstborn has given us another gift by adding our precious daughter-in-law to the family. The icing has grown up and become a senior in high school. And I find myself a woman wondering where the years have gone.

Just a few short months from now, we will pack our car and take our icing to a university hundreds of miles from home. And though there were many days in which parenting seemed like an unending journey, looking back, it seems as if the years have flown. Just like every little old lady at the grocery store always told me they would.

Raising our children has been a treasure for Rob and me. As Paul told Timothy, we have done our best to guard that treasure. Having adult sons has taught me that parenting does not end, it simply changes. Watching them become amazing adults is a treat. That being said, things are different once they leave home.

Honestly, when I eat cake, I tend to enjoy it thoroughly. And it has not been beyond me to lick the plate to get that last taste of icing that was left behind. So it seems so appropriate to me that I spend this last year of having our icing around the house licking the plate. Enjoying every single moment. Laughing at every joke. Drying every tear. Just thankful, each day, for the gift of having been able to be her mom.

Next fall will bring an exciting transition for Rob and me. We are excited about picking up the journey again where we departed from it 28 years ago – on the road of two. It will be a wonderful time.

But for now – you will find me – licking the plate.


Jocelyn said...

Bettina, you made me cry! Thank you for this reminder, which I can really use right now, when my cake is only five and my icing is three years old. Some days I feel like I've had my fill of cake, but you're right, of course. It's the perfect amount and I should lick the plate, too. :)

P.S. Thanks for using an analogy I can really sink my teeth into. hee hee

Anonymous said...

While the day to day may be a path of two --- children forever change you as people. And isn't that just a wonderful thing!

Enjoy these last months of daily life with your icing ... the best is yet to come.

Hodag Mom said...

Oh Bettina...so well said. You put into words what my 'Mama Heart' has been feeling. Thank you.
I am so blessed to be on this journey with such an incredible friend like you!
We are going to be alright...

pgrippin said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart and describing what is found in my heart right now.