My son put them there after I peeled them off the page, hoping he’d stay busy while I checked my email. Apparently he did. The house shows signs of them everywhere—though they aren’t all tigers, and they aren’t all from today. There are the smiley faces on the door and the vegetables on the toilet seat. They’ve been there for months—not because I haven’t taken the time to peel them off. No, I haven’t got the heart to remove them.
Life moves fast and my kids grow big before I get enough hugs from the 1-year-old boy, then the 2-year-old boy—both whom I now miss. Now 1-year-old my daughter can walk and has little time for snuggles and no longer fits my favorite nickname for her—“ baby girl.”
Only the stickers stay the same, and remain my best attempt to live fully in this life as a mom of little kids before everything changes again.
Some of the signs of that life I gladly remove, or at least try to. The spit-up spots on my shirts. The brown, chocolatey fingerprints on my pants. The dark smudges under my eyes.
And other signs I wish I hadn’t removed—the smile from my boy’s face when he pulled out every single item of clothing in his room. My son’s first artwork, which happened to be scribbled on my wall. The round belly when I carried my babies inside of me, never so close to my heart after they were born. (Though I’m thankful that the empty, round belly has almost disappeared.)
I hope the times when I’ve hurt them—yelled at them, didn’t assume the best of them, didn’t stop my task to properly answer them—will fade out of their little memories. And for the mistakes I will make when they start remembering, I hope they will forgive me, learning the power of grace--both for the one wronged and the one who does wrong.
Then there are the things I hope will stick. I hope they understand how important they are to God, and how important He is to us. I want them to notice those who are hurting, and know to whom to turn when they themselves hurt. I long for them to know they are my life’s joy, moving me to tears and laughter with a single smile, or a tiger or a vegetable.