I am the keeper of the smells, the sweet salty bedtime smells. I have an internal record of fears that need to be gently shepherded and braved. I collect the memories of the small moments and the victories. I know the edges of the relationships that need prayer and kindness. I move through moments collecting, keeping, naming treasuring moments. Not simply the happy moments, but the broken moments. I keep them, and in the quiet just before sleep I retell them.
I have told the story of each of your coming into this place over and over. The breaking open of my body and the entrance of grace through the pain of the coming. I add twists and memories that surface if for only a moment to be savored.
I know the flavors of your childhood, and the sacred moments shared around the table. I am the keeper of those treasures. They are hidden in the ordinary cavern that is my heart. I take out these treasures and wonder over the goodness of each moment. Ella- who never left her bed without permission. Harper who found speech at an impossibly young age. Lake who needed to fall asleep on my back- he felt he had me pinned and I would never leave. Many nights I didn’t. Story, the shadow of my going. My companion. The one I don’t remember not having with me- even though she came last. Wasn’t she always there? It seems like she was.
I keep it all- and I fear, how I fear those treasures being forgotten, because they are mine alone. I know the exact shape of each earlobe. I know the ones that struggle to big potty, and when it’s time to add more apple juice to our diet. I’m a keeper of the big and small places in our stories. I know what it means when you bite your nails. I know what if means when sleep won’t find it’s way to you. I know. It’s my privilege to know.
My prayer is that these memory treasures would surface over the lifetime of your going. Perhaps, you will remember me when you are chopping a pepper or sitting by a fire. Maybe a song will remind you of a time you sat near to me and were captured in my embrace before you scuttled off to play. Sweet Jesus, won’t you let those moments surface.
The news today was bleak. We left without words. Nothing pointed to us of hope in that place. I shattered in the car. I called my sister and shattered her going. I sent desperate texts. Everything felt broken and undone.
As I quieted in the bath, I grieved and enjoyed the roll of keeper I have been entrusted to be as a mama- like all you precious mamas out there. We are the keepers of the memories. We are the ones to treasure the speech impediments, we are the ones to know the victory of a difficult math concept captured, mundane victories- victories celebrated and kept by mamas. You know when it’s time to pull out the ice cream and bypass the broccoli. You simply know.
I grieve that my story may be taking me from that roll. And I struggle that my babies won’t know what a gift the collecting of those treasures has been. So I come to this place. I write, and I write, and I write. Because those small moments were celebrated by this mama, and they matter. They are important.
I’m sad I may not be here to collect the precious small graces lived next to the lives of my loves…… But I’m sad that they won’t have the sleepy time reminders next to my warmth that say- you are a child treasured. And in my treasuring of their hearts, I’m demonstrating to them the best of Jesus and HIs unconditional love.
Each appointment that shortens my days, well, it causes me to want to desperately share how very important these small moments are in the lives of our children.
You there- do you know how your job as the keeper is so important? Do you know? Do you know what a gift you have been given in your ordinary, boring going? It matters. It may not be sexy or what you imagined, but it matters.
I trust that my days are properly numbered. I have asked a friend that I would give myself a time to weep over this bad news, and then I would go and capture what life I have left. That I would give away all this love that pours into my life. That when I come to the end- I will have embraced all the grace, given away all the love, and given away to my children and Jason what I have kept all these years. That the small treasures would be taken out and placed on display to allow my children to know what cherished children they are.
My babies saw me come home streaked with tears today. They quieted as they listened to the hard in my story. Their faces saddened and quieted, but we all promised to enjoy now. Harper was the first to find laughter. Ella quietly tried to avoid the pain, and Story crawled into my lap, and Lake joined his daddy to clean the car. We all have our roles to play in this story. I’m the keeper. But I’m not going to keep it to myself any longer.
I never want to stop being the keeper of the moments. But if I’m asked to give up my role- I won’t do it without sharing all that I have treasured, kept, enjoyed. It’s not mine to keep.
Oh you dear keepers out there- you matter. Tell me the treasures you keep.