We went for one last swim in the river the night before school started. The kids ran into the water at top speed, tripping over their own feet and falling into clumsy dives, splashing for all they were worth.
They did underwater headstands and skipped stones (which ended up being more like plunking them out into the middle of the river). They competed in swimming races and built wonders out of wet sand.
I stood, waist deep, watching all they were doing. I felt like Mary, pondering and collecting in my heart that which these children of mine do.
“Mom! Watch this!”
“Did you see that?”
“Look what I found!”
I watched, I saw, I looked. And I told myself over and over, “Remember this, remember this, remember this”.
Remember the hike through the woods where we found the baby snakes and the bright green frog. And even remember the bee stings and the hugs and kisses that followed.
Remember the trip to Wisconsin where we ate lunch overlooking the polar bears and the way your girl’s eyes grew round at the opportunity. Remember the museums and the walks and the gardens. And remember how the boys still hold your hand because they want to be near.
Remember the books read together. New ones and classics. Remember the talks you had after reading, the lessons you all learned together about what it means to be human and family and friends.
Remember this. Remember this. Remember this.
And don’t forget the sweetness of being told you’re loved by a sincere eight year old. Remember the way you marvel at your (nearly) ten year old’s courage. Soak into your memory the way your children speak of Jesus with such assurance and confidence.
And commit to memory how really, really good life can be even in the noise of our culture and the tugging at our attention. Even in tragedy and pain, an edge of beauty often contrasts with the darkness. Sometimes that lovely edge is made of the memories of long snuggles and shared giggles.