My son won’t eat the center of cucumber slices. I’m not complaining, I mean, he’s eating a portion of cucumbers and beggars can’t be choosers right? Actually, cucumbers top the very short list of healthy things that he will eat so I’m thrilled with the little that I can get. Nevertheless, every day for lunch, I peel off the crunchy green skin of a cucumber and chop it up for him. I set the plate down on the table and then he proceeds to bite around the perimeter of each slice leaving “the middles” as he calls them, untouched.
Sometimes he’ll stack his “middles” up in a tower, other times he’ll throw them onto his little sister’s high chair tray, but he never eats them. He says it’s because they taste funny. There’s seeds in there or they’re too mushy and who am I to argue with the definitive judgment of a 4-year-old?
Those middles get a bad rap around here. Sure they aren’t as crunchy and unencumbered as the outside of the slice. Sure those little seeds look kind of funny, like tiny intruders in the soft, bright, plane of green. It’s easy for a preschooler to cast them aside as a useless part of his snack but this mama knows better.
Without the middles there would be no seeds. Without the middles, there would be no hope for more.
Motherhood is kind of the same. We dance our way around the big moments – pregnancy, adoption, birth, first birthdays, first days of school, first cars, graduations and so on. Those are the moments we picture, the touchstones, the watershed, and we eat them up like bites around the crunchy outsides. We jump from one to the next and find joy and affirmation but between each and every one, we’re left with the middles – the moments, hours, days, and years where everything piles on in a mushy mess. Where each day feels identical to the last like tiny, indistinguishable seeds. Where joy and contentment are harder to find and where we can lose ourselves and our intentions.
The middles are the moments that go unnoticed, the years that you feel unseen. They are easy to overlook. They aren’t the things you write in a baby book or memorialize with photos. They aren’t the obvious sources of our pride or affirmation. On the contrary, it’s in the middle days, the ones between the pages of the baby books and photo albums, that we feel like we’re drowning. But mama, those days are yours too. We can find purpose and joy for ourselves and our kids in each and every one.
These years that we spend tucked away mothering are hidden deep in the center of the loud, juicy, crunchy-green moments. They are wrapped up tight in our hearts and our children’s but they remain the source of it all.
This day, in all of it’s monotony and mundane, matters. Maybe it feels identical to yesterday and you know that tomorrow will feel like déjà vu, but just like a sunset never ceases to captivate and stop a day in it’s tracks, this day in it’s simplicity is beautiful and powerful and shapes little hearts with every repetition.
Live the ordinary with wonder in your eyes. Take it all in and know that you are planting seeds that will grow into something large and perfect and delicious in the lives of you and your family.
Know that it matters. Everything you do matters, because when life hits hard or the good things happen and the contents of your kid’s hearts are laid bare, they will be full of all of the seeds that poured out of your middle days. They will be soft and fertile and will bear good fruit. All because you gave of your heart, yourself, your middles and shaped theirs.
The middles are where the seeds are. The hidden days hold the power to birth life and hope and generations. Be encouraged and inspired in the days that we call useless, but are actually the most useful. The seed bearers. The soft parts. Find ways to devour each and every day whole – middles and all – and find nourishment and inspiration for your soul as you do.
Kelsey is a wife and stay at home mom in her home state of Colorado. She is passionate about people, especially little ones in footy pajamas and the women that are raising them. You can find her blogging about her faith and raising little ones every Wednesday at glowliveaslight.com and on her personal blog, whilewemother.com.