Over the years, we forget so many things.
I was married at 22, and 18 months later, my first child was born. Then the next 6 years were full-on with four more children to follow.
Now as a grandparent of 9 grandchildren and spending 8 days looking after 4 of them, I remembered how much go, go, go kids have and how much slow, slow, slower I am now.
I’d forgotten how consistent children were in not wanting to go to bed, how difficult changing sheets on a top bunk was, how a two year old says “no like it” as you put their dinner in front of them and you spend the next half an hour ‘playing airplanes ‘so they will eat it all.
I’d forgotten how little children seem to eat all day, how they copied their big brothers and sisters in language, play, and behaviour. How they needed a cuddle often and frequently asked, ‘Whatcha doing?’
I’d forgotten the delight of a little hand in yours and how licking the beaters and spoon after making a cake was such a treat.
I’d forgotten how engaging the laughter of a giggling, ticklish little girl is. How honest they were and told you how it was, from their point of view anyway! How they actually love routine – it makes them feel safe.
I’d forgotten how they tremble when they get frightened and climb up your legs to safety while saying the word scary, scary.
I’d also forgotten what it was like to sleep with 2 little children in the bed with you.
I know everyone reading this right now who have experienced what I am going to describe, have a huge smile on their face with the memories.
You are in a big king size bed peacefully sleeping, but in a few hours, that will all change. You have one child chucking up on their bed, and after cleaning them down and changing the clothes and stripping the bed, you finally have settled them into the other half of your bed when another child walks in because they have wet theirs! And so, the process of cleaning starts again, and you settle them into now a third of your bed. Now your third of the bed seems to have been cut into three because you all know how little children sleep sideways and so close to you that it is as if they are stuck with super glue to you. You are squashed and often have a knee stuck in your back or an arm flung over your torso.
Yes, there’s that smile that I said you would have.
I’d forgotten how much energy it takes to put a toddler in a car seat. That expertise and strength are required in your hands and fingers to connect into the latch without catching a little squirming 2-year-old tummy.
I’d forgotten what it was like to be running on empty with lack of sleep, and after the fourth morning of a cry at 5.35 am you bring them to bed with the 2 others already there – just to get another 40 winks – even though you are now really squashed, to the extreme. Before you were only squashed. We need to count our blessings!
I’d forgotten the washing pile and the mountains of folding that you would get to later. And the in-between jobs you wanted to do – mopping, cleaning bathrooms while the little one sleeps, so you did not have a little helper!
This was all in one day.
Even though I had forgotten a lot of these memories, our God does not ever forget us. He never forgets any memories. His mercies are new every morning. Even the ‘bad’ memories He does not forget, but there is no retribution if we have asked for forgiveness and our heart is to try and change our ways.
That’s what Jesus did for us on the cross. He gave us a means of no consequence of sin. He took the ‘payback’ for us.
“Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, (in discipline, in frustration, out of love), I certainly still remember him. Therefore, my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,” declares the Lord.
While I was thinking of all that had happened this week, a notification came up on my phone screen. My step app had the audacity to say I was below my goals for the last four days! What!!! Well, maybe I had not been doing as many steps, but I had certainly been exercising.