Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Birthday Cakes and Life

We are in the midst of the crazy March/April birthday madness over here and, just when we finally finish the cake from one birthday, it's time to bake another. Having kids in school has only exacerbated the already crazy cake-problem as they seem to require me to bake cupcakes to take to school as well. I feel like powdered sugar has somehow become a grocery staple right up there with eggs and milk. And, more than anything, I'm feeling that spun out, breath knocked out feeling that all of this crept up on me. Again. Doesn't it do that every year?

The perk of having all of these birthdays in one insane burst is that there isn't much time for navel gazing. I spend a moment or two on the days of their birth remembering with wonder how they burst into my life and changed it - always for the better. Gifts unfathomable, these kids of mine. Still, the celebrations tick on by and, beyond that, it's business as usual around here. Just as well because it's not the birthdays that change them. It's the every day.

I notice it mostly with my Dinah. She's all lip smackers, overalls and peace sign selfies these days and I feel even more so now than when she was little that, if I blink, I'll miss it. This girl that she is. The woman she's becoming.  Maybe it's being a young-ish mom or maybe all moms feel this, but I well remember being twelve. How deeply I felt things. How strong my convictions of justice and how sure I was about my place on this earth. It's a precious and tender, strong and fragile time of life. I am more and more aware that the words I speak to her have lasting power. Meaning. That the life I live in front of her eyes is something that she won't ever forget.

That thought is sobering but, also? A grace, of sorts. When I look deep into my childhood at the woman I call Mom through the lens of a 30-something, I feel nothing but compassion. Love. Understanding for the struggles of daily life, the sacrifices she embraced with joy and the mistakes that she agonized over. Life is complicated and important and amazing and a one-shot deal. But life is also just life.

It's a reminder I turn over and over in my head through all the decisions I walk through, all the choices I make, all the prayers that I pray. That abiding truth that the most important things are always the humble things. And all those big things that cause us so much anxiety and consternation and sleepless nights and strangling fear? Those things will be swept up and consumed by the sun rising on tomorrow. Because it always, always does.

Every single day is awash with grace, dear ones. Grace for the many ways this could go, and grace for how it turns out.

These babies are growing and changing. Life keeps on. I'm walking through this season with the knowledge that we are all wrapped in mercy, every breath we take. And I'm calling it good.

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