The Beauty of Mucking Through

We are giving up summer. All week, as the hills outside slowly wink color and the wind grows uppity; I have been going through the boys’ closets—putting up the shorts and t-shirts, dragging out the jeans.

Every year when this time comes around I must look long and deep at these two boys who own my heart. Could they really have grown so much in such a short span of time? The answer, of course, is yes.

I pull out a pair of jeans that are far beyond the flood stage.

Did you really wear these last year?
I ask Jeffrey. He shrugs his shoulders.

The goodwill pile grows into a mountain, and it seems like I am giving away memories. This is the Pat White Jersey that’s been in his closet for two years. And this? A favorite tie-dyed shirt—the one his school picture was taken in.

He wants to keep it.

What for? I ask.

I don’t know...

When he tries it on and reaches to the ceiling his bellybutton stares at me.


It’s an arduous task and getting them to try on the questionables is something akin to asking them to volunteer for torture. It makes me grumpy and sad all at once—this upsizing. If I dig deep enough in the drawers I wonder if I will find the outfit we brought him home from the hospital in—the one that was too big with the lamb’s face on the front.

My boys are growing up. I try not to be too sentimental about these things—it makes them squeamish. But in moments like these the passing of time stares me bold in the face and brings me to my knees.

Last night the storms came. I watched lightening flash across the sky and felt the cleaning of the rain pelting the window…stripping away pieces of me, layer by layer. When I opened the door I could smell the turning of the seasons—could taste the decay of mossy leaves on the wind.

This morning, I ran in a cold rain. My nose was leaky and my shoes were wet and big trucks kept driving by and spraying me with waves of dirty street water. The sky was spreading white–no sun, no stars. Just a bleak sort of gray. Suddenly, in the headlights of a passing car, I could see the sheets of rain falling. Each individual pane of water shone like glass in the air around me and it. was so. beautiful. Time seemed to slow and my breath came in long and deep. I was aware of beds of fallen foliage deposited here and there…sometimes a lone leaf would flutter to the ground before me or get caught up in a swirl of car draft.

I made up my mind right there to love this life. I promised God to see the individual threads of falling rain sparkling like diamonds on a sunless morning. To see the beauty in changing seasons and cold gray days. To see the transforming nature of the mucking through in every day—laundry, work, traffic, love.

And I just kept going.

Time does that too. Marches on.

And it is a beautiful thing.

My boys are growing up. I’m paying attention to the details. I don’t want to miss a single droplet of life.

It’s just way too good.


  1. says

    I find this stage with no children home anymore to be much easier on me…I am so stopping and looking around, noticing…hoping to see beyond what I physically see sometimes…seeing the things I could so easily take for granted. Being in awe…it washes over me…so hard to fathom God and all His glory.

  2. says

    So beautiful Laura! Thank you. I always appreciate how well you describe. It teaches.

    I, too, get sad at how many garments they’ve grown out of! Not fair, my heart says.

  3. says

    I am just going to echo what Susan said – your writing is so compelling.
    You transport me right to the places where you live and I feel your heart through the words.
    So this is life…we treasure the moments and the days drift into one another becoming years. Each one holds precious moments and each season has joys and sorrows of its own.
    Thank you for this Laura. I needed reminding.

  4. says

    So very, very true, Laura! And so easy for us to forget on the tough days. Thank you so much for sharing this with us…I feel so humbled and honored to have been given a peek into this powerful moment you experienced. Wow! What a blessing! It’s all in our perspective isn’t it?

    Sounds like God is doing a great work in your mind and spirit! I am so happy for you!!!

  5. says

    I used to think I was becoming too pragmatic after all these years of 7 children, now ages 23 down to 10. It seems like I should be more sentimental. But, I have come to see that even though there are stages I might miss, I am enjoying so very much each stage they are in now that I don’t really look back much. At least not in a melancholy way. Perhaps a little wistful at times, but it’s just so incredible to see the fruit the Lord is building into their lives that I don’t suffer much over their growing up. Maybe that will change when the last one starts to “fledge”. But by then, I will probably be so engrossed in a herd of grandchildren that even that will be okay.

  6. Anonymous says

    Your writing is beautiful and I am so blessed that you share it.

    I confess I have a drawer for each child…of those special things I can’t donate or resell. I try hard not to be silly about what I keep…but I do keep. I suppose I fear that I might need them one day…to remind me or God-forbid, if I should let lonely.

    Enjoying the now…is so hard sometimes. Now is busy, tedious, and…delicious. I do try to drink it ALL up.

    So many veteran Moms have shared how fast children grow that I sometimes find myself staring at the children…taking way too many pictures.

    Can you tell I fear forgeting?

    I look forward to the day when they’re old enough for me to be able to go and run. The thought is simultaneously refreshing and frightening. It means they will have grown, and both of us will have more freedom. I stop long enough only to pray and wonder if I’m doing everything “right.”

    Thank God…time is what keeps everything from happening at once.

    Your writing and photography is SUCH a blessing. Thanks for sharing your gifts.

  7. says

    yeah i dont want to miss a single droplet either…my boys are growing so fast..seems like just yesterday we were bringing them home…now they are both in school…yikes. nice write…

  8. says

    It is awesome that you can ‘see’ the beauty through the muck. LIFE moves forward and either we choose to stay present and LIVE in it or we lose sight of the glory of the moment. It is all about perspective. Thank you for the ‘thoughts’… and the challenge. have a wonderful weekend.

  9. says

    Switching out seasonal clothes at our house is monumental. I love the “mud stage” line. Thanks for sharing your heart again so “real”ly. Beautiful, cloud cover isn’t always depressing, thank God!

  10. says

    Yo8u’ve given me courage to enjoy a walk in the rain next time it pours. What’s the very worst that can happen? I get cold and wet? But then a warm bath, cozy sweat suit and cocoa will make it all the richer an experience.

    My one and only is 9, I am savoring every droplet too. She’s halfway to 18! How has this happened??

    Oh, and my Goodwill pile grows too, I best drop it off soon!

  11. says

    I just love this. Especially this:
    “far beyond the flood stage”! 🙂

    Tomorrow we go shopping for slacks and jeans.

    And I just had some old, old memories of myself—myself when I was younger than my youngest is now.


  12. says

    Your words bring a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye, because I understand so well what you’re writing about. It’s so hard, and yet so necessary, to watch them grow…to not suffocate but to let them become their own persons. I love fall, and maybe part of the reason I love it is that the trees are letting go, too–only they do so with much more grace than I ever will. 🙂

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