Letters from a Learning Mother

Enough with the “when… then…”s

We’re very goal-oriented, always looking forward. And while it’s good to be living a life that is in motion, far too often, we slip into a state of “when… then.”

When I look back, I see a multitude of “when… then”s in my life. “When I finally have a boyfriend.” “When I graduate high school.” ”When I move to Germany.” “When Matthis and I get married.” “When this workweek is over.” “When I finish this project.” “When we go on vacation.” “When I get a raise.” “When we have a baby.”

 “…then things will be easier.” “…then life will be better.” “…then I’ll be happy.”

I recently found comfort in the “when… then” while Ellis was dealing with tummy troubles, especially in his first few weeks of life. “When he hits the three month mark,” I thought, “then everything will be better.”

 I wished for those sweet, newborn days to speed past in moments in which I felt so helpless, then I caught myself. I made a point to cherish those precious weeks, knowing I’d miss them in the future and scold myself if I didn’t take in the beauty of it all.

Now, we’re only two months in, and the bellyaches have already reduced drastically. But as one struggle subsided, another arose as Ellis caught his first cold. And this is where I draw the line.

There will always be imperfections in our lives as long as we’re on this imperfect earth. What a shame it would be to set such high standards that our lives should fulfill in order for us to be satisfied with them. What a tragedy it would be to wait for heaven to enjoy the heavenly.

As for me, I’ll let today be my mountaintop, and tomorrow too. Even as I’m sitting (or lying ) next to my sick son on a stained couch in a messy living room in an apartment that may or may not be too small for the three of us, I won’t “when… then” my life away.

I’ll rejoice in this day and in the One who made it, for today is all we’ll ever have.

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