I see toys scattered all over the living room, stacks of library books on the hearth of the fireplace, sippy cups on their side with milk puddles forming on crumb-speckled floors, my boy's big dump truck piled high with other cars and toys, a baby gate blocking the staircase, pumpkins and mums outside our front door, dress shirts and ties from my man who provides wonderfully for our family, tiny fingerprints on my windows, toothpaste residue lining my sinks, big girl sitting at the kitchen table working on her school, artwork on my fridge and counters and walls, baby girl standing on the stool in the bathroom watching herself brush her teeth, a load of laundry resting on the couch. Signs of little, lively life are visible everywhere.
I hear lots of loud squeals and screeches as boy and girl play chase downstairs, shoes being thrown from the top of the stairs down to the bottom, baby girl calling my name because she can't find her toothbrush or it's lacking some toothpaste, Christmas music playing in the background, Nora reading her books while sitting on the couch, little footsteps coming downstairs in the early mornings, my name being called for the bazillionth time as one little boy fights naptime, big brother and sister warning me that Stella is on the stairs again, hubby opening the door from the garage to the house letting us know he's home from a long day's work. Sounds of littleness, sweetness, and growing up.
I smell seasonal scents as I keep a candle lit with a comforting fragrance, fireplaces and firepits lit with burning wood, dinner simmering away in the kitchen, my boy's neck as he's been sprayed with his daddy's cologne, baby's head just after her nap, three littles fresh out of the tub permeating with the scent of apples and strawberries, yummy chocolate as the last few pieces of Halloween candy still remain in the house, fresh popped popcorn as we settle in for family movie night, peanut butter sandwiches for lunch boxes, the fragrance of my husband hours after he's left for work. Smells that will always trigger memories of these flying-by days.
I taste apples that we share at least once a day, cups of coffee reheated in the microwave a few times because I can't manage to keep it hot enough, chocolate chip and blueberry waffles first thing in the morning, my favorite lunch of tomato soup and grilled cheese for days when it's cold and dreary, my first peppermint mocha of the season, little lips smothered with melted chocolate that were intent on giving me kisses. Fortaste of the joy and heartache one feels as they realize their babies are growing up way too fast.
I touch schoolbooks and readers as I load them into Nora's backpack, little arms and hands as I tuck them into fleece jackets, Liam's cowlick right in front that without fail causes a smile to form in my mouth, Stella's shoes as she asks to wear them every moment she's awake, carseat buckles as we get in and out of the van, the hand of my husband and best friend as we ride along in the van, sandwich bread and pretzels and jello and ziplock bags as I make lunches on early mornings, blonde hair with fingers to form precise braids and pigtails for my Nora girl, lips to forehead as I send them off to their classroom, my baby's little frame holding tight onto my hip as much as I can because I know the days where she'll let me are fleeting, little reminders of God's grace and God's mercy and God's love for me in the form of miniature angels and agents on a heavenly mission they are unaware of. Touches that fill my heart with love and thanksgiving.
I know a love like I've never known before for the Lord, for my husband, for my children. I know I am blessed and undeserving and forgiven and not condemned for my failures. I know I am needy and sinful and restored and renewed daily. I know I am dependent and loved and helped and guided by the Spirit. I know I am called and led. I know I have THE husband and THE children that the Lord has given me because they are THE perfect things in life that will draw me closer to the Lord.