February 26, 2013

the seasons of coffee dates

I think they probably started around the time we all got our drivers licenses.  Coffee dates.  Meeting a friend to chat over our hot beverage.  About life.  About our dreams.

Back then, let's be honest, we'd talk mostly about boys.  About who was dating who.  About who we wanted to be dating.  Or maybe about who we were dating and how sweet or not-so-sweet it was.  And our future.  College?  Here or there?  There was always something next.  Something that must be better than now.  We were always eager to move forward.

Then we graduated high school and some of us stayed and some of us moved.  Coffee dates of college exponentially increased in frequency and coffee in consumption.  The faces changed and conversations deepened.  We talked about purpose.  About how our studies fit into the big picture of life.  Of what God was teaching us.  And, of course, boys.  Who we were (or weren't) dating.  Who was engaged.  Who was already married.  And me, still looking forward.  Something more, something better.  Waiting for whatever it is that completes you.  Unsatisfied with now.  I still don't think I got it.

Eventually, two by two, we all got engaged.  Married.  And started our grown-up jobs.  Coffee dates of college graduates are now for catching up.  We seemed to think we were busy in college, but we had no idea what busy was.  We talked about our married life.  Husband and wife stuff.  Recipes.  Sewing.  And of course, babies.  When are you starting to try?  How many kids do you want?  How spaced apart?  The season of coffee dates that were paired with tears over heart break and months and months of wanting that next thing.  A child.  Oh, when that happens, life must be complete?  At least, this is how I always viewed it.

Then, we are blessed with babies and meet for coffee dates as mothers.  Conversations unfinished due to hungry babies and distractions of spit up and blow outs.  How is it to be a working mom?  Will you quit?  Will you stay home?  How long is your baby sleeping?  Ea where you are poured out far more than you are filled.ting?  Are you doing baby-wise?  Baby wearing?  Cloth diapering?  Oh, the conversation options were endless.  It was easy to stay surface, because life was very much surface and there was a whole lot of it.  I know that I felt alone at times, in my quest for depth and purpose in this new season.  The season where we pour out a whole lot more than we are often filled.  

And then the conversations always turn to the next one.  How far will you space your kids?  Do you want another boy?  A girl?  Really, two in diapers?  There was always something next.  Something more.  And still, I found myself pushing myself quickly toward that next thing.

Then something happened.  My one baby became a brother.  And my big baby slowly became no longer a baby, but a toddler.  A walking and gabbering toddler.  All in a matter of months.  And suddenly the importance of the here and now is impressed on my heart in a way that I never understood before.

In this season, my coffee dates look different.  

I would talk about purposefully taking the days slowly.  Not rushing my kids to grow.  Watching them explore the world for the first time.  Soaking it in.  

I'd ask about what you love doing with your kids.  Right now, what is your favorite thing to do with your time?  What memories have you created recently?  

And what can we do right now that is pouring into them?

What am I doing right now that is building my relationship with my husband?

What am I doing right now that is encouraging my kids?

What do you love most about now?

In a way I haven't quite understood before, I know that today is a gift.  Time goes more quickly than we realize.  I'm in a season of looking forward, but not hastening now.

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