The bathroom door.

They say the older we get the faster life moves. Of course, scientifically speaking, this is impossible. The speed of time is no more faster than it was two thousand years ago. There are 24 hours in a day, and a minute is still sixty seconds long. As far as I know, sixty seconds lasts… sixty seconds, back then and now.

Although some would say how long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on

As funny as that line is, for me it’s a great analogy for the season of life that is raising little humans. The saying goes that the days are long, but the years are short.

Day by day, parenthood is standing outside a bathroom door, pacing and gauging at when that door will open. But year by year, parenthood is sitting inside that bathroom door thinking you have all the time in the world to do whatever it is you went in there to do.

It’s been 556 days since I last posted on this blog.

That’s a year and a half. Do you know what can happen in a year and a half’s time?

A lot. Yes, like, adding another human to your life, or losing a human in your life. Things like birthdays and holidays, and fall, winter, spring, summer, fall again, then back to winter.

Things like a pregnancy, a newborn stage, breastfeeding, pumping, loss of sleep, threenager season to ferocious four life, and baby milestone after baby milestone.

There’s been motherhood, career-hood, and wifehood.

It’s been a lot. It’s been a minute. It’s been 556 days.

Those days, individually, have been some of the longest days of my life. Yet at the same time I keep looking back to the time as a whole and I’m dumbfounded at how much has happened and how quickly it’s come and gone. My previous post titled, The Pirate’s Booty, was back on August 12, 2018. I was about nine weeks pregnant, sick to my stomach daily, and raising a threenager about to become a ferocious 4-year-old. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. The epic meltdown Brooks had. Carrying him home from the beach and locking myself in my bathroom, while he banged on the other side of the door crying to let him in. I was exhausted and nauseous from the early stages of pregnancy, and I sat on the floor and simply cried.

The bathroom door.

I can only imagine how long it felt for Brooks that day as he begged for his mommy to let him in. Meanwhile, there I was inside, thinking I had all the time in the world to wish that day away. Now, it feels as though I opened that door and blinked. It’s a year and a half later, I have a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old and I haven’t written a word on this blog since.

When people ask me what it’s like to have two kids, I always jokingly respond, “It’s more than one!” Life has been busy. Life has been tiring. Life has been chaotic.

Life has been good. And bad. And happy. And sad. It’s been crazy. It’s been mundane. It’s been life changing. It’s been same old same old.

It’s been life. And life equals a period of time. A lot of it as wasted time. These days it’s because Brooks takes about a billion years to eat any meal.

But more often than not it’s because I spend my time wishing away time. I spend my time with my kids rushing away their time. I spend my time waiting for bed time, for me time, only to sit on the couch and stare at screens to pass the time, until my bed time. Then I toss and turn and lose sleep time, because I’m too busy regretting how I wasted all my time, or didn’t spend enough time with my kids, and so now it’s guilt time.

That’s a lot of time.

When we wish away our time, we’re wishing away a gift. We’re wishing away divine opportunities. We’re wishing away a life that’s already short on time.

So when we’re in those moments where we wish we had more time, what we’re really wishing is that we spent the time we did have more wisely. We will never have more time. What we will have is the opportunity to make the most of the time we already have. This, my friends, is hard. This is something I do not do well, especially in this season of life.

Because little ones? All they want is your time. And I suck at giving them my time. I’m tired, cranky, and irritable most days and my patience is little. Many nights I walk out of Brooks’ room after putting him to bed and immediately feel guilt and regret because instead of enjoying this short season of getting to cuddle him in bed before he becomes a teenage boy who doesn’t even want me in his room, I spend it rushing him to get through his “routine” and sighing or yelling in frustration at his playful, innocent manner in how slow he does … anything. I spend bed time thinking it’s one more chore on my to do list instead of using that time as an opportunity to love on my boy before time makes him one day older the next morning.

Everyday, God gives us the gift of time, and then He gives us opportunities to use that time in ways that matter most, in ways that will make life extraordinary. Yet, most days, I take those opportunities and deem them as too ordinary a gift to be cherished.

Every year you close a new chapter in your life story. Don’t write the same one seventy-five times and call it a life.

Sitting on my desk are these words above from NYT best selling author, Rachel Hollis. When I first read this quote in her book, I saw it as a charge, a rally cry to go out there and follow your dreams and not settle for a mundane, ordinary life where everyday feels the same and you get to the end and wonder what the heck you even accomplished.

Now, though, I see it as something very different.

Living a story worth telling doesn’t mean replacing our ordinary life with the extraordinary. It means finding the extraordinary life within our ordinary.

Every moment with my children is an opportunity. An opportunity to learn more patience, to give more love, to gain new wisdom, to be more silly, to put my phone down and be present, or to build them up. It’s also an opportunity to lose my temper, to lash out in my impatience, to fuel my anxiety, to be a wrecker of fun, to engage more with my phone than my kids, or to put them down.

In a way, we’re choosing between being more like Jesus or staying exactly as we are. We as parents probably have more opportunities each day than most to be more like Jesus, which means we also have more opportunities than most to fail.

I fail. A LOT.

But what’s great about God is He never fails at loving us. So regardless of the gazillion times I will fail as a Mom on a daily basis, He will never fail me, or my children, as a Father.

What’s interesting about Jesus is how many different ways in the Bible He shows us how to love. For me, I think the biggest way He shows His love is not in miraculous healings or his teachings or his inclusion of all, though these are all incredible gifts, but rather in his gift of interruptibility.

Jesus was constantly interrupted. (Hello, motherhood!) Yet He never once shied away from loving on anyone who interrupted Him. In fact, most of his healings, teachings and greatest moments in the Bible came from moments of interruption. To me, it’s the most important and valuable way He shows His love to others. It’s a lesson we can take and apply right here and now, regardless of what our circumstances are.

Don’t you see?

Jesus took what seemed like ordinary moments, ones we most likely would brush off or see as a chore, and turned them into extraordinary moments. Divine opportunities. Time well spent. A story worth telling.

556 days.

That’s how long it took me to write again. I’d love to say it was because I was living my ordinary life in extraordinary ways, but quite honestly it’s been the opposite. I’ve been living with the tension most parents live with — wanting more time with my children while wishing that same time away.

See, those 556 days individually, were long ones. Exhausting. Relentless. Hard.

So. Much. Time.

But 556 days collectively? It’s been a blink. A blur. A fast-flowing river where you’re frantically searching for branches to hang on to for dear life.

Not. Enough. Time.

Because how long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on, right?

And if you asked me today which side of that door I currently stand, I’d say,

HA! Trick question.

The answer is both.

As a parent, I’m always on both sides of that door at the exact same time.

How is that possible, you ask?

I honestly have no idea, but it is why most moms are emotional wrecks most of the time…

So pray for us.

And when in doubt, bring us coffee, wine, and/or snacks.


2 responses to “The bathroom door.”

  1. Karen,
    Don’t stop writing. You have a gift to honestly describe what others feel. Well done! Your awareness of how you spend time and your perspective about time is amazing. I’ve thought similarly about it, but could not put it into words the way you did. Aunt Rae would be proud❤

  2. I agree with your Aunt. Don’t stop writing. You are so wise.

    As a mom of two 30+ daughters, I am afraid we have encouraged our daughters (and ourselves) to believe they can do all things and be all they aspire to be but in the end we have not valued motherhood and encouraged them to pursue it with enthusiasm. I now believe the most important thing I did was raise little humans. No other accomplishment is more important. And we do not allow ourselves to celebrate that, devote ourselves to that, much less enjoy it.

    The little humans are eternal. We have them forever. All the rest is chasing after the wind…

    Jesus placed those special children in your womb for a reason. He knew you needed them, they needed you and He is faithful to make you all they need you to be and to fill in the blanks for the rest of it.

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