It's January. January is winter. Winter is cold. I'm of the mindset that it's not worthwhile to get worked up over weather, so I choose not to be bothered by the chill. I layer my children in jackets, adjust the harnesses on their car seats to accommodate for the bulk, and remind them with great frequency to not rub their jackets along the side of the winter-filthy van as we're in the garage -- a reminder that goes over their heads because they are drawn to the van with an unparalleled magnetic pull.
I can almost hear their inner turmoil: "Must wipe dirty van door with clean jacket. Must wipe dirty van door with clean jacket. Must wipe dirty van door..."
Anyway, this is what winter is about, which is why I want you to take one long look at this:
The beach. I love wide-open spaces and panoramic views. There's something about standing on the edge of the ocean that makes me feel alive, and tiny, and vastly insignificant, and then so very significant as I mull over the God who created the vastness of this world and still is interested in the most mundane facets of my life.
Wide-open spaces. They're good for the soul.
What's interesting about this is that closeness -- not wide-openness -- is what I value as a mother. When my kids snuggle close they feel secure. I feel secure. It's not uncommon that they'll have an entire room to place themselves and they'll wheedle into our laps or wedge their bodies directly beside ours. They're always touching us.
Some days I simply want my space, but I've been in malls when teens are walking five paces ahead of their mothers. It's a reminder to soak up all the physical closeness right now. It won't always be the same.
Kids like closeness and familiarity. It brings safety and security. Even if it's less noticeable, we often feel this way as adults, too. We pick the corner booth. We find the chair in the inviting nook at the coffee shop. We choose the same seats on the bus, at the meeting, or in the classroom. We position ourselves in ways that feel safe.
Our kids do the same -- even in their play. This Christmas I received a pair of earrings. I nearly threw the box away, but then figured that the girls might like it. Reese wanted to use it to store treasure. Brooke wanted to convert it into a bed for her Strawberry Shortcake.
(Confession: I took one look at that and thought it looked more like a coffin than a bed, but rest assured, that Strawberry Shortcake is still well and kickin' in our household.) Brooke was just making her cozy.
Wide-open spaces are good for the soul, but close spaces seem to be just as valuable. I'm gathering my children close. That's where they belong.