Yesterday, a dear friend met our newest baby for the first time. It was a sweet moment because Carole has been a mentor to me over the years. She has loved and raised four children and is enjoying her grandchildren. She has recently gone back to school for a second degree so that she can help to improve the childcare culture. Over the years, she has given me wise advice about womanhood, marriage, Bible study, prayer, food, children, and everything else that comes up in our 20’s and 30’s.
Yesterday, she looked me in the eye and said, “You know there’s only one word: savor.”
I told her that I had just spotted that advice on a list of “The Top Ten Things NOT To Say To A Mother of Young Children”.
For the past few years, the blogosphere and facebook have been buzzing with mothers-of-young-children complaining about that very advice. Clever Huffington Post articles have derided the common message to “Carpe diem” motherhood. Countless facebookers have vented about the little old ladies in Target who stop shopping carts full of energetic children and say, “Enjoy every minute of it!”
I’ve nodded my head in agreement with those posts: motherhood is tough and “savor” is the last word that comes to mind when I’m cleaning up poop.
“There’s only one word: savor.”
We young moms don’t seem to want to hear it. Yet, it’s the #1 Word of Advice (often, the only word of advice) that we hear from every. single. older woman who crosses our paths.
Maybe we need to stop complaining and start listening to what they’re saying.
Maybe we need to honor the collective voice of the women who’ve lived through motherhood and all agree on this one thing.
Maybe they know something that we don’t know yet.
Maybe they know we need to hear it everywhere we go – family reunions, the YMCA, church, Target – because hearing it over and over again is the only way to overcome the smell of poopy diapers, the noise of whininess, and the drone of mundane chores. Of course they remember the trials. And yet, they won’t quit the chant: “Savor it. Savor it. Savor it.”
Maybe this persistent, seemingly-impossible message is God’s gift to us.
Maybe it’s wisdom.
Do we really want to tell these generous, passionate older women to stop?
That’s why the next time the little old lady stops me in Target – when I’m rushing my toddler to the bathroom from the opposite side of the store, and we’re all starving, and the baby is wailing, and the six year old has a blister on her heel and can’t keep up with her speedy mother, and the nine year old is wiggling her tooth with such fervor that she is lost in another world – I will try to pause and listen as she says, “Enjoy every minute of it.” I’ll try to be humble and say, “Thank you for that wise advice. I’ll do my very best.”
And that’s why I’ll ask God every day to change my heart so that I may savor this miraculous gift of motherhood. Thank you, God, for my young children. And thank you for older women who all sing the same song.
I’m going for it: Savor.