I can smile now at how little I knew then.
Once upon a time, I was a young mama, less than two years out of college, with a blue-eyed beauty of a son. Our first baby! Beaming and sleep-deprived, we could not stop holding this small and miraculous bundle.
We were also poor.
Poor in a way that there was nothing to shave off the budget. Our expenses were: rent, food, diapers, gas money, and student loans. Period.
While others were decorating nurseries, and shopping at Gymboree, and stockpiling diapers on sale, we were scraping by.
But it was good. Our baby was clean, and chunky and happy. As he grew, he and I spent mornings or afternoons taking long walks, singing songs, reading as many books as I could carry from the library, and enjoying simple family dinners.
I scrubbed our apartment floors shiny; dusted our hand-me-down furniture without fail, and vacuumed with a vengeance. Our few clothes were folded, and scattered pictures and fresh flowers were the extent of our decorations.
It was good.
That was 1996. I did not have a computer or laptop or a cell phone or even e-mail. Our television screen was 19 inches! My world was our little family, that God would see fit to grow three more beautiful times.
There was definitely an innocence to those days. I had no screens to distract me, and my downtime was spent walking or reading. There is beauty in having fewer choices. I did not see it then, but it is so very clear now.
The other week, my daughter and I walked to our local park where the magnificent Budweiser Clydesdales were on display for the afternoon. Their beauty and size alone was breath-taking. As we watched them harness up to the cart, my daughter nudged me.
“Mom, look at that cute baby!” she smiled.
I turned my head and peeked. He was an adorable baby, clearly not walking yet, and I guessed him to be about ten months old. He held a phone in his lap and was watching a show. He chubby baby fingers knew what to press, and he was mesmerized.
I felt sad for this little babe who could have been hoisted up high to see God’s beautiful creation in those Clydesdales.
There is beauty in allowing fewer options into our lives.
To all young mamas, the days are long and the years are short. Pour your hearts and souls into your families, in Jesus’ name. Your mission field is tucked in the cribs and beds of your home. Blessing your children with your time and attention and good books, and songs, and Bible stories and the outdoor beauty of God’s own hand will not return void.
And to us veteran moms, whose babes are leaving the nest, and change is in the air for us: There is beauty in allowing for fewer choices. We are influencers of our families now and grand babies yet to come. We can help to create a space for the simplicity of the gospel to be fleshed out.
My blue-eyed firstborn is now in graduate school. He is a pastor. I have not one regret about forfeiting a paying job that would have allowed us to have more clothes and toys and vacations.
We were rich.