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A Year of the Sweet Spot

A Year of the Sweet Spot

2 birthdays, within 5 days of each other.

My oldest and youngest children.

Yet only one of them was I able to celebrate actually with the child.

Having these birthdays so close – DD1’s 8th and Dominic’s 1st – has gotten me thinking about this year. I did a photo shoot with DD1, as I do every year, to remember and recognize how much she has grown. And oh, what a beautiful young lady she has become.

My photo shoot with Dominic got replaced by re-watching the video we made of our brief time with him.

*SIGH*

There are no more new photos, of course, for Dominic. So I have found a new way to capture the essence and meaning of life that is no longer present here, in photographable form…

Words.  Like a photographer with prose instead of a camera, I want to seize beauty and being and truth forever.

A picture says a thousand words. But, for me, words unveil the workings of the Spirit.

I am so thankful for the outlet that has helped me hear God’s voice, to make sense of unbridled emotion, to find purpose and meaning amidst chaos and confusion and pain. The Lord continues to ply my heart with words that I am to put to page, and, each time I do, He lightens my soul a bit more, and infuses part of Himself into the space that is left.

Not surprising, this.

 

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

God’s revelation, essence are…Words.

Yes. Truth – in legible, hearable, utterable, writable, understandable format.

Maybe that’s why I often don’t see what He is doing until I begin to put it to paper. So I do so again now.

*****

Recently, upon reflecting on these two birthdays so close together, these life celebration days of the children on both ends of our family spectrum, I realized something new. Another Jesus-infused kernel of understanding about this year that I hadn’t yet understood.

It began when I read this post, by Julianna Miner, called The Sweet Spot.

Miner writes about realizing that her children were in what she calls the “sweet spot” – that age when kids are mostly independent but still need Mom and Dad to some degree. It’s those years when kids can potty in the right place, sleep through the night, take care of their own personal hygiene, take responsibility around the home – but still need parental snuggles, guidance and care. The time when they are both getting older but still young – the golden years of childhood. Miner doesn’t specify the ages, but I would supply that it happens somewhere around age 5, and continues to about age 11 or 12, when kids start to enter the teen years.

I realized that this year, my kids have been in the sweet spot.

With DD1 just having turned 8, and DD1 now at 5 ½, this is the year that all of my children have been in that “ideal” time of childhood. They are both able to fix food for themselves, get up in the morning and manage perfectly fine if they get up before I do, shower and brush teeth effectively, and even do the household laundry. They play on their own without me entertaining them, clean up after themselves when they are done, and virtually never keep me up at night for any reason. Yet they still want daily snuggles and kisses, come to me for comfort when they get bumps and bruises, need my support with schoolwork and challenges of life, and look to me as their main source of guidance.

Why is this significant?

Because it is only the fact that I did not have a baby this past year that made it so I could fully enjoy the sweet spot.

It’s true. Through reading that article, the Lord revealed to me a “good” that has come from Dominic’s death…I got to completely, wholly savor the sweet spot with my girls.

You forget, when you’re not in it, just how utterly overwhelming those baby years are. Certainly they are wonderful (so wonderful that I desperately want to experience them again), but they are also exhausting and very, very difficult.  No sleep. No time for self. Non-stop giving, Every. Single. Minute. Your body belonging to someone else. Your life belonging to someone else. If Dominic had stayed with us, it would have been a different kind of good, with our lives focusing around him and the dual joy and responsibility of incorporating him into our family life.

But it wouldn’t have been a year of just enjoying the sweet spot with my older two.

And it has been a year of great joy with them. This past year has been my favorite homeschooling year, by far. Both kids are old enough to really participate in their learning. We are past the early-learning-to-read stage and Mom-intensive Pre-K years and into what I biased-ly tend to think of as “real” school. (I know, I know, it’s all equally valuable, all you toddler mother wonders; I’m just not a little-kid-teacher kind of gal). They are able to have conversations about what we are studying, and share insights, and give back to the learning process. And it has been just wonderful.

This year my girls have had Mom all to themselves. We’ve had unprecedented opportunity to read literature together and delve into devotions and have snuggle time in bed each day. With few outside distractions, I’ve been able to answer their questions, closely engage with their development, delight in their growth, and focus on their character. It has been a year of teaching them responsibility, discussing matters of life and theology, and learning and savoring who they are becoming.

It has been a year of blessing, with my girls.

“Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
for the man who fears the Lord.” Psalm 128:1-4

I have come to see, this year, that we have been blessed, even though it may not have been in the way I wanted. I wanted the blessing of a new baby, but he gave me the blessing of being able to fully enjoy the “sweet spot” with the two children I already have.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

These years with them I will never get back; the years of the “sweet spot”. I have turned around, and my firstborn is 8. I’ve turned around and it has been a year since my lastborn’s death. The time on this earth is just so very, very short – my children will be gone in just a blink.

“Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain….

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.”

The Lord gave me special time, this year, to enjoy the reward, and I am thankful.

It is a reminder that, no matter what happens, when the Lord is involved –

It always turns out to be the sweet spot.

 

One Response to “A Year of the Sweet Spot”

  1. Harriet Doty says:

    Enjoy every second of the sweet spot because it is gone all too quickly.

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