"Do not say, 'Why were the old days better than these?' For it is not wise to ask such questions," the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us (7:10). In moments of discontent, I find myself longing for the "good old days," the days when I didn't have kids and could call my time my own. The days when I only had little kids, and it was so easy to control their activities and their friends. The days when my kids were young and my biggest problem was keeping them fed and clothed--no activities to choose between, no big worries about their friendships and development. The days when I didn't have to think about wrinkles and gray hairs. The days when the dollars earned-per-kid ratio was better. Ah, those were the days.
But were they really better? Before I had kids I longed for them, and when they were little I wished for the days when I wouldn't have to wipe noses or bottoms. I guess you could call it selective amnesia. How easy it is to forget the sleepless nights, the worries and fears, the boredom or sadness of past days and remember only the good things.
This blog post that went viral recently helped us all to be realistic about the things that are hard about raising little kids. And I think that's a good balance for all the mushy motherhood-is-wonderful blogs and facebook status updates. "I love my kids!" "Life is such an adventure with these kids!" "Look how creative I am--we do fun things every day!" Yes, all things to celebrate and share, but life is also full of "My daughter just lied to me...again. What should I do?" and "I honestly cannot face the loads of housework that are waiting for me and it's making me grumpy with the kids" and "my marriage really isn't very good right now, and I'm not sure how to turn it around." The things we don't share, or at least not with very many people.
I don't know exactly where I'm headed with this, except to say that today I need to be reminded--I need to remind myself--to embrace the present and the future. To look back on my memories with joy at the gifts God has given me, but not to long for those days.
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let me rejoice and be glad in it! In the messy house, in the fears I have for tomorrow, in the overwhelming chaos that is the hours from 4 to 6, in the seemingly endless stream of laundry, cooking, and kids' activities. These are the things that God has given me this day. Maybe there will be wonderful gifts today if I look for them. Maybe I can enjoy my son's rendition of "The First Noel" or a sticky hug from my toddler. Maybe my Jr. Higher will keep track of her homework today. Or maybe there won't be much to celebrate. Either way, let me rejoice in this day because this is what God has given me.