I once read this little quote on a friend's Facebook page. It seems like a contradiction, but the reality and truth in the statement always give me pause when I think of it in terms of motherhood. We get one shot at this gig, and I have a mind just analytical enough to spend too much time debating whether or not I'm spending it the right way and making the early years of my kids' lives special enough for them to avoid years of teenage angst.
The fact of the matter is that the years are short. Every day we get is a gift, but it's all too easy to lose sight of that fact when things like exhaustion, school pictures, basketball practice, fights over the Wii remote, and the Pinewood Derby race get in the way of a stress-free, reflective, giggles and rainbows kind of existence.
This week the kink in my armor was crippling homesickness. I found myself transfixed by worry and sadness that my children are five hours from grandparents and cousins. The friendships I shared with my cousins and the closeness I had with my grandparents are two of the greatest gifts of my childhood, and it suddenly became very important to me that I'm too far from home to logistically make these gifts a reality for my own kids on a daily or even monthly basis. Each day I woke up thinking of a particular aspect of home. One day it was Ms. Marni's Preschool where Hudson and Lawson went the year before we moved to Savannah. Another day it was our land and the back deck of our house that overlooked a beautiful field.
Last night we went to the YMCA for a basketball game played by adorable, feisty five and six year old boys. I talked and laughed with other moms, snagged a copy of Breaking Dawn from my friend Barbara (woo hoo!), and cheered for my little scrappers on the court. We then took our gaggle of kids to one of the local churches on the island for an authentic low country boil and oyster roast. The kids ran and played, we stuffed our face with shrimp and homemade desserts, and I cracked up with my MOPS friends.
The night was a reminder that God has us right where He wants us right now. The sense of community I feel on Wilmington Island is sometimes even stronger than what I feel in my own hometown. Jason has a job he loves and so do I. Much the same way I loved Ms. Marni's Preschool, WIPP has become an integral part of our family's lives, and every day I wake up excited to spend the first half of my day with my adorable students.
My friends are my family here. They take care of me when the bottom drops out in a multitude of ways, like when five out of six Joneses get the pukies or I need ski gear for a one day trip to Snow Mountain. They listen when I cry and laugh with me when I'm happy. They eat Mexican food with me to make up for a crappy day, and they watch my kids for free for me to celebrate milestones with my husband or to go to the parent-teacher conference I forgot about. They even spend an hour out of their day trying to help me break into my van with a coat hanger so that I don't have to call the locksmith again.
I really believe few places on Earth are like Wilmington Island. For now I'll just have to focus on finding ways to go home to Carrollton to visit more often. I continue to be humbled and thankful for the blessings we have and for the fact that my kids are happy, something that matters more to me than anything else. They may grow up farther from grandparents and cousins than I did, but their childhood experiences in Savannah are rich beyond measure so far.