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Summertime . . . is the living easy?

Jun. 14, 2010



Do you remember the old song that begins "Summertime, and the living is easy"? Don't you wonder what planet that songwriter inhabited? Obviously not written by a mother! At the start of this Summer 2010, three mom-images are fresh in my mind . . .

One is a mother I recently observed on the sidewalks of Chicago. She and her four children—yes, four—had obviously just made a visit to the huge "American Girl" temple on Michigan Avenue. It was a busy, sunny Saturday in downtown Chicago, and the streets were jammed with shoppers and runners and various protestors and family groups and street people all celebrating the beginning of summer. Amidst the crowd was one brave mother, all by herself, struggling to make her way through the throngs with four kids. Her stroller was filled with baby stuff (diaper bags, toys, extra hoodies, wet wipes—you know the scene) and shopping bags. On the front of the stroller she balanced the baby and, with the same hand, somehow managed to steer the stroller. With her other hand she corralled the other three kids (probably all 5 and under), insisting that they hang onto the stroller and stay close to her. Somehow I don't think the song in her head had anything to do with living being easy.

A second mom I watched was "hanging out" for a very long time in a Chicago train station with one very large suitcase (you take them with you on the train—no bag checking free or otherwise), a "carry-on" filled with assorted toys and snacks, a diaper bag, several stuffed animals—and one very busy, adorable 18-month-old. I know she was 18 months not only because she behaved like an 18-month-old but also because I asked. She looked so much like the age of my granddaughter Gabriella, who I knew would soon be traveling alone with her mother, that I couldn't resist asking her age. Like the first mother, this young mom seemed incredibly competent and exceedingly skilled at multi-tasking. She was, from what I could observe, a very good mother. But I doubt that she was thinking "easy living" thoughts either.

The third image is vivid in my mind right now. As I write these words, my daughter Erika is in-flight over the Atlantic with her adorable 18-month-old daughter, Gabriella. The flight is usually about 8 and ½ hours. But you can be sure it feels a lot longer when you are traveling alone with a toddler. And this morning there was a 4-hour delay in Dublin. According to texts from Erika before they left, Gigi (as they often call her) was having a fine time exploring the airport and watching people—two of her favorite pastimes. But it will be a loooong day. Easy living? I don't think so!

So I am thinking about moms at the start of this summer. Moms of all ages. Moms at all stages of their mom-lives. Busy with babies and preschoolers. Struggling with teen schedules over the summer. Praying for their young adult children, some of whom may not be at the places moms wish they were. Maybe helping raise their grandchildren. And I am thinking of each of you. Whether you are a mom with kids at home, a mom with kids far away (geographically or otherwise), or a "mom" to the moms in your Mom to Mom group, I suspect that you may not be thinking "easy living" thoughts right now yourself.

But I am also thinking about a long-favorite verse that I was just recently reminded of, and I am hoping that you and I can live this verse out this summer:

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.  (Isaiah 50:4)

"To know the word that sustains the weary." Weary is such an old-fashioned word. But it's such a good one. And it is exactly what I see on the faces and in the body language of so many moms. And it is my prayer that something we say, as we continually learn and are taught by God, can sustain the weary around us. It's what we do, I hope, at Mom to Mom. It's what I try to do through my blog. And it's what I hope all of us—you and I and all our Mom to Mom leaders and moms—will do for each other this summer.

I do wish you all a God-blessed—even if not easy—summer!

Love, Linda

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