By Libbo Crosswhite
Two More Minutes
Time is a tricky, tricky thing. There are moments when I feel like there simply isn’t enough of it. Like my time is the two tiny fish and the five meager loaves expected to feed 5,000 and I am telling Jesus, “There just isn’t enough to feed all my people.” And yet, there is also a part of me that realizes that my time in this young stage of motherhood is so precious and I don’t want it to end and deep down, I want my people to always rely on me as they do now.
Mary Thomas has gotten into this habit lately of coming into our room in the middle of the night and politely asking us, “Hey mom and dad, can I snuggle with y’all for just a minute?” As if it’s the middle of the day and she is casually asking us for a snack. Tell me, how in the world do you say no to that?
After her snoring kicks into high gear, one of the many traits she inherited from her dad, I will scoop her up and begin taking her back to her room. On several occasions, she has grabbed my neck really tight and whispered, “Two more minutes, Mom,” as dramatically as possible. As she has learned larger numbers, the time seems to proportionally increase. She asked for thirty minutes the other night; part of me was impressed she knew the number thirty, the other part of me was ready for her to be able to sleep on her own for a full night.
And as Russell begins to find his voice and words, I am hearing “Mama” a lot lately—is there anything sweeter than when your child first learns to call for you by name? And then it becomes less sweet when that’s all they do and all they know. Clay uses it to his advantage by asking, “Russell, who do you want to change your diaper?” The answer is always, “Mama.” Our babies not only need us in the early stages, but they want us. It’s sweet and exhausting all at the same time, but it’s also temporary. As time goes on, they will soon be older and wiser (hopefully) and will need less of mom and more of friends, adventure, the world, and the future.
One of my favorite parts of my job as a high school counselor is getting to have conversations with parents about their babies, who also happen to be my students. I have found that there is so much to learn and so many things to look forward to in parenting teens. But there is one stark difference—while I am bargaining with my toddlers who want more time with me, parents of teens are begging for more time back. As much as we have a tendency to want our babies to stay babies, I have also learned from my high school parents that there is great joy in watching our babies grow into independent humans, who actually do learn to sleep through the night. For many, May is the pinnacle of the realization of time gone by—it’s covered in graduation celebrations- a monumental moment in life that causes us to reflect on what we are leaving behind and what lies ahead.
Our true calling as parents is to lead our children to the only time that really matters; an eternity spent with our Creator and King. We want them to be rooted in goodness and the hope that Psalm 1 offers us, “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Our children’s future is only secure in one place—next to an abundant stream of life-giving water that is found in Christ alone.
But, how do we get them there? We pray for and with them daily, we fix our eyes on Jesus and not on the standards of the world, and we find a Christ community to help us raise our children. We show them grace and teach them how to show others the same, and we include ourselves in that showing ourselves grace when we fall short and giving other parents the same courtesy. It’s certainly easier to put into words than it is to live out daily, but Lord willing, something beautiful begins to happen when we give our children over to God’s timing and not our own. We begin to see the fruits of our labor as time passes.
So if you’re reading this and are fortunate to have your mom with you on earth, give her two more minutes of your time. Or maybe thirty. And if you are walking across a graduation stage in May, give her a little extra tender love and care. I know you want to go and do and see, but remember who got you this far, and remember that she is about to let you free and she isn’t quite sure how it all happened so fast. How her baby is now a beautiful reminder of years of hard work, unconditional love, grace abounding, and some laughter and tears along the way. Let her hug you a little longer and hold you a little tighter. This young mama knows there once was a time when you begged for the same from her.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Brandon and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 2 years old and a son, Russell, who is 6 months old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy.