I bent down to put the tracks away and melted into a puddle right then and there. I’d put these tracks away many a night but they were only ever out as a result of a meltdown or a half-hazard dump as Ely made his way through the toy bins and boxes, not slowing down to actually play with anything, his only goal to seemingly make a big giant mess.
But tonight was different.
I wasn’t putting away tracks that were sprawled all over my living room, thrown in anger or carelessness. They were pieced together in a uniform track with bridges on either side, an engine and two cars connected and resting at the bottom of one of the bridges. It was as if I had jumped back about 3 and ½ years in time and Titus had just laid there playing with them for 45 minutes, insisting I sit across from him and take my turn on half of the tracks each time the train came around to greet me, always with his “choo choo” as he passed it off.
I put each track away exactly as I have for years, still held in the same worn-down cardboard box they came in from Ikea and I feel a Holy Moment approach. I can’t quite define what it is, but somewhere deep within, my Abba Father is unlocking a piece of my mama heart. I can’t hold any of it in so tears flow, but not just because of my deep missing, but for the deep rejoicing too.
You see, tonight, Ely was the one who had insisted the train tracks get set up. And that I sit across from him and take my turn each time he rolled the train down the bridge and around to me. He passed them off to me each time with a soft “choo choo”. I’d kept these tracks out in the living room long after no one was interested in playing with them because they held such a sweet and tender memory of time spent with Titus. They have always frustrated the heck out of Ely so I stopped trying to put them together and drawing him in to play with them; as much for me as him because I got tired of dodging flying wooden tracks when he would scream and throw them. (It does not feel good getting pelted by wooden Ikea train tracks… just saying.)
And then suddenly he wanted to play. And play. And play. I was on guard because…. well, flying tracks! But none came hurling toward my head. The train would get derailed and I hurried to help him to avoid any eruption, but none came as he calmly tried his best to place them back on the track. We played, with soft “choo choos”, taking turns, saying “wheeee!” down each of the bridges and giggled when the trains derailed. Bed time came and I reluctantly paused to move on for the night.
As I cleaned up around the house and found myself on that floor in the midst of that Holy Moment I acknowledge the past several months have sent my heart into lock down. I know this already so it’s not a new revelation to me, but I didn’t anticipate a set of train tracks to be the tool to begin unlocking it again.
I don’t have to always stand waiting for the ball to drop, for the next emergency to happen, to record and observe all that is going wrong so I’m not caught off guard.
I can softly choo choo and giggle when things get derailed. I can breathe in those moments and allow my heart to feel them. He reminded me that right here is beauty. Right here He- my friend and companion- my God is here. And He just gifted me. I’ll take that kind of Mother’s Day gift any day and am so thankful I didn’t miss it this time.
Thanks for listening,