"Mom, can we go ride our Razors, now?" James asks. It's 7:25 a.m. on a school-day.
"Have you finished your Morning Duties?" I ask.
"Then, yes, you may go exercise."
"Yippeeee!" shouts Jude and they both go dashing out the front door.
"Stay within our boundaries, right, Mom?" James calls over his shoulder.
"Yep. How did you know I was going to say that?"
"I just knew!" he says. And he's gone, buckling on his helmet and taking off at full speed down the sidewalk. I want to run after him, remind him to watch for cars backing out of driveways, to keep his voice down, to watch out for Jude.
But then, I've already taught him these things many times. It's time for him to make the choice himself.
Jude scoots past me with a little, jaunty wave.
"'Bye, Mom!" he shouts.
And my heart stops. 'Bye, Mom?
I feel my heart go after them, chasing them down the street, wanting to hold onto them. But I can't. I feel the ache and the joy together, a bittersweet mix.
I turn back inside, to my twins. They are banging on their highchairs, demanding more breakfast. Jorie took several steps this week and Jasie is right behind her. It has all gone so quickly. Soon they will be walking...and walking away.
I don't want it to end. I want to freeze this moment, these happy, busy years of babies, diapers, bottles, scooters, lunchboxes and bicycle helmets.
Did my mother feel this way about me? And her mother before her? Time passes, the children grow and too soon, they are gone. But children are never ours, really. They're His. I only get them for a little while.
So, I will teach them while I can, hold them close and pour Jesus into their hearts. Someday soon, my sons will be men, my daughters will be women.
Oh God, may I do it well. And over all my mistakes, please cover with Your grace.