In the Blink of an Eye

I started out writing about Fortnite. If you’re reading this wondering “What is Fortnite?”, consider yourself blessed. It can also be assumed you don’t have a boy aged 8–28 in your home. Because if you do, you would know about the video game that has taken over the world. Fortnite has become the four-letter-word that has more than four letters.

But another four-letter word has crept in over the past few months. I don’t know when it started or how it crept in, but it wakes me early in the morning. And it keeps me awake at night — It’s fear.

Admitting fear brings with it a vulnerability that feels like maybe it’s too much to admit on the pages of a magazine where most readers don’t even know the real me. They know the one they read about once a month.

If I told you how many times people pass by my crew of kids while we are out and about and say something along the lines of “enjoy them, time flies” you wouldn’t believe it. There’s something about toting half a dozen kids around town that makes people feel compelled to speak to you whether you want to be spoken to or not. If you don’t believe me, I’ll let you borrow my kids and try it for a day to see what happens. You’ll feel what it’s like to mother a half dozen, and I’ll call it a vacation. I want to tell the helpful strangers who give unsolicited advice about “enjoying them” that I’m trying my hardest.

The busyness is real. The jumping from one activity to another has worn me down and stolen the peace of long, lazy days and seemingly endless time. We are constantly cutting back, saying no and scheduling family time. Ten years ago, family time happened every single minute of every single day. When people said “blink and it’ll be over,” I was the one guilty of blinking and hoping their words would come true. And they did.

I don’t have a pack of toddlers holding onto me, pressing into me, leaning hard into my personal space. I only have one kid left in the single digits. She’s 8 going on 18, and my heart stops to think that in 10 years, she’ll be the last straggler of this wearisome crew that has called my house their home.

The fear feels like this: Have I done enough? Have I used every minute with them to pour into their hearts and help shape their soul? Has busyness replaced the beauty of time together?

When I see their faces, I see the passing of time. I want to shake the mamma of 10 years ago who kept blinking in hopes that time would go a little faster and tell her to hold them tighter and longer, that one day, they would be 13 and not crawling in your lap begging for another bedtime story.

So what will the 10-years-from-now version of me tell the today me? It might sound like something a client at work told me a few weeks ago. In her early ‘70s and still grieving the loss of a daughter over 20 years ago, she looked me in the eye and looked around our business and said, “You know none of this matters, right?”

“Yes ma’m,” I said. My tear-filled eyes matched her own. How could she have known that it’s the fear that has crept in?

I fight the fear with this one truth: God made me their mamma. He’s going to help me be the best one I can possibly be.

Note: Out of respect for his privacy, our one-year-old foster baby is not pictured, but he’s in all of our hearts.