As we prepare to welcome our fourth child into our home, my organizational nesting instincts have kicked in as usual. Thus, here I sit, late into the night purging and filing stacks of paper. In a house with little children, there is more paper than one might imagine.....Most days, the boys go to the dining room table with several pieces of construction paper and a box of colored pens. Time and again, they wander into the kitchen to find me and show me their creations "Mama!!! Look at what I've drawn!".....oddly shaped and barely recognizable pictures in monotonous colors drawn onto each piece of paper.
One would think it easy enough, given my stacks and stacks of these drawings, to keep a couple and toss the rest. But, here's my dilemma: A mama sees so much more than those little misshapen pictures. I see the big searching eyes behind the drawing, standing expectantly, if a little shyly, awaiting my approval. "Mama, I made this just for you and Papa. Do you see what I have made? Is it special to you? Am I?"
During this stage of life, it is so easy to be overwhelmed. I am constantly fighting the battle of little toys, shoes, clothes, books, game and puzzle pieces, and coloring supplies. We have more "clean up sessions" than I'd like to count, and sometimes the house is still cluttered at the end of the day. Sticky messes and spills abound, accompanied by apologetic faces and "Uh ohs". Days full of school, play, spills, and accidents lead to several sets of clothes needing to be washed each day, in addition to the countless cups, bowls, plates and silverware we use during our meals and snacks. Nights are rounded out by newly training "self bathers", which leads to another stack of towels used to mop up the floors after each shower or bath. Thus, part of me wants to take the entire stack of "art" and shove it in the recycle bin, or wood-stove, whichever is closest.
The other part of me, however, hears a ticking clock.....the same clock that has tick-tocked it's way through the first six years of our lives as parents....and keeps ticking. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Time is passing....away, away. The pitter patter of little feet quickly turns to thuds and stomps....then feet that walk away into the future that awaits them. These little art projects that seem to come in overwhelming abundance now will begin to slow....then fade away, until one day, I will be overjoyed to receive a rare note in the mail from my child. What seems like an endless supply of homely construction paper art, I might one day regard as treasure. Memories will flood my heart as I look at the hastily scrawled drawing by Caleb of a Papa holding swords in both hands.....or of Emet's race track.....or of the Pooh Bear, Eeyore, and Tiger Caleb drew as a decoration for their pirate Pooh bear birthday party. I will see the pride and eager anticipation of a little boy's heart, and I will lovingly cling to my memories.
So you see? I can't throw away this treasure. I will attempt to file it away in binders as I can. It may be here in abundance now, seeming to choke out my very sanity as it clutters counter tops and refrigerator doors, but one day, it may be far more valuable to me than gold.
"In everything, give thanks..." 1 Thessalonians 5:18