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Crunch Mittens

In life we develop habits that bring us comfort. We may not notice it at first, but when the rhythm gets disrupted or that thing is not found in its rightful place we become agitated, uncomfortable…you fill in the blank. 

I have spent a lot of time reflecting on seasons lately. No, not the lack of what we have in Wisconsin - has Spring arrived yet? The seasons of life that change pending relationships, location, career…life circumstances. 

I entered a new season of life a little over a year ago (18 months to be exact) called motherhood - and life hasn’t been the same since. That’s to be expected, but I am continually caught off guard by how much changes in such a short  period of  time - and annoyingly succumbing to - it goes fast

Each new milestone brings a new obstacle to oh and ah over, but also maneuver through. Things you swore you wouldn’t do become the familiar rhythm as you do the very best you can to make it through the day, or night. 

It’s amazing how much life has slowed down even though our days are full. I flirt with the temptation to do all the things, and not to forget to capture it on my phone - or else  did it really happen? When you have an infant (or toddler) it becomes so evident how  much growth and change happens in a life. If only we gave each other enough grace and space to  do the same we get older. To acknowledge the freedom and beauty of  becoming - living into our  full potential as human beings. Celebrating the milestones that define a season of life. The season where you were more present, forgave, tried something new…set a clear boundary. 

My son never took a nuk. We would have to hold it in place, and that got old quick. I took this as a sweet victory. Somehow something I did saved us from having to have a nuk clipped on or strategically placed throughout  the house. It saved us from the day we would have to remove the nuk all together…because teeth, and he already has a mouthful. 

But then insert mittens

Not the ones that keep us warm through the cold and dreary Wisco winters. The ones you put on your newborn (or maybe you didn’t) so that they don’t scratch their face. Somewhere along the way Jed’s mittens became his source of comfort. He would put his covered hand to his mouth, and he was good. Well they only make these to fit hands up to 3 months old. So worn mittens went to held mittens, and soon enough Jed couldn’t have enough in one hand. 

Crunchy mittens. Why crunchy? These “babies” as my son fondly calls them are full of drool, dirt, snacks…anything Jed encounters over the day. 

His crunch mittens bring him comfort. 

At times I am slightly embarrassed as I hand my kid over to the nursery at church. I say “here in case he gets sad” - and hand over the mittens. People often say, “socks?” with a puzzled look, and I say “oh no, those are Jed’s mittens, they comfort him”.

It really is cute, and thankfully they are cheap to replace. But none of this is really the point.

Each season of life comes with its joys and challenges. Each day requires a certain amount of grace and we either squander it or live freely within it. We have the things that bring us comfort - and hopefully they are still in the good category…not God. Jed’s source of comfort empowers him to be fully present in the moment, in the day. 

Wouldn’t it be great to embrace life in the season you are in now - and not have to look back to appreciate it or recall what it was like. What if we invited people in, and in the same breath encouraged others to do the same? It is when we are in it (the thick of life), that we are looking for comfort. Comfort that empowers us to be here. As we are looking for someone to tell us we are normal, not alone, seen and heard. In the present we can celebrate with, mourn with and trouble shoot. We can be. God gave us eyes to see, ears to hear and arms to behold - not through our phone - those moments are fleeting, and we will soon scroll right past them. 

My habit that has brought me comfort is my productivity. It is one of many reasons I couldn’t help but to cry, laugh…feel, as I heard T Swift’s recent lyrics: “I cry a lot, but I am so productive, it’s an art”. 

Stick with me non swifties. 

On my walk alone through our neighborhood the other night I looked down, and saw a pair of my son’s mittens. Withered and worn, but identifiable. I cried (and chuckled) as I picked them up to bring them home. Life will never look the same as it does today. No amount of planning or doing will give me this day back. You may be thinking, thank God, but pause for a moment and look around you. What is there that brings you joy? Who is there and how is their life impacting you? What do you have to learn? Are the things bringing you comfort in these moments empowering you to be present or escape? 

I held Jed’s mittens to my face. Felt the crunch and then inhaled his sweet breath - all reminders that in this season of motherhood I get to hold him in my arms, I get to watch him take in the world around him…and I (and his father, can’t forget Bellie) are his world. I know that will change as he gets older, as it should - but I don’t want to have regrets or miss out on a single moment of who he is today. 

You are in a season. Are you living in it? 

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