“What do you say?…”

Do you get that feeling that you have more things to do, than you have time for? Sometimes I have the illusion that I can actually work down the list of things that I made on friday night in the free weekend that lies ahead of me. Sort out the wardrobes, write nice cards to people, scrub the mold from the bathroom (yes we got that), collect pictures that I have been wanting to print off for the last five (more realistically fifteen) years, do a deep cleaning in the craft cupboard… Well, you get it, those kinds of things. I think it was about a year ago I made it a point to no longer answer with ‘I am really busy’ whenever people would ask me how I am doing.

It was my very own lovely husband who pointed out to me one day that it was my own responsibility to make sure to make other decisions in order to prevent such an answer. A painful moment to say the least. Yes there are things that are in the category ‘must do,’ but many, many, many things that cause me to be so super busy are really not the ones that I actually ‘have to’ do. Says who? So if I play the game according to my own rules and you were to ask me how I am doing, my answer is not supposed to be ‘I am busy.’ Which doesn’t mean that my inside voice is not screaming ‘I AM WAYYY TOO BUSY’ (deal with it, is what I quietly think to myself). Some people that come to my home ask me the question ‘How can it be so nicely tidied up in your home… how do you do it?’

‘Belief it or not that s how I relax, haha. How I calm down…’ You can sort of read my state of being by the looks of my home. The more tidied up, the busier I am. The control freak in me looks for something to organise, tidy, structure in times of crazy busyness.

Today it’s my birthday. 35 years of age. Last week we had a guy join us for dinner and I asked him about his age. He smiled and said 22. You know the kind of smile that just asks for a question to get the story behind it. ‘Well, I am getting really old…’ he said. And you know, I understand time is a relative thing for wherever you’re at in life and I can even recall myself saying something along those lines at some point when I was around that age, but I couldn’t help it but catch myself thinking ‘how old does that make me as a 35 year old…’ I don’t feel quite that old. But maybe I have been in denial since I was 22, which then means this young man is being spot on.

But then, all of a sudden it is there. I really am ALREADY 35!! There is so much I still need to do. While I sit myself down on this day with a big pot of tea and turn on some Yann Tiersen (which I recommend for us busy heads), I ask myself the question what I would want to get if I were to get the ultimate gift for my birthday. ‘Time’ is the one thing that flashes through my head. I want time. Time to be able to do more things, to experience more, to visit more people, to invest more in friendships, to develop myself, to grow deeper in passions, to read my Bible more, make photo albums of my kids’ childhood pictures (possibly my biggest fail as a parent – our oldest is 10 now and has exactly 0 books).

Really, I wouldn’t want any gift necessarily. In fact I have a new mania to declutter my house. But time. Oh if there would only be someone that could give me some extra time to do all those things I want to do so badly for so long already.

All of a sudden it dawns upon me that a birthday is all about celebrating that very thing that God gave me. It felt like God was tapping me on the shoulder. I celebrate God’s ultimate gift to me: life, time. To embrace what is there to be lived. Every day again. My beautiful children, my most amazing husband. Our wonderful work. My incredible family. The special friendships I get to have.

Our response, or let’s keep it personal, my response often to the things around me is more, more, more… Maybe that’s why I start to dislike the Dutch ‘Sinterklaas’ celebration more and more. A kid gets a gift and what is the response… more. And guess what, what is my response when I get some thing… More.

I think to myself what we as well caring parents, and of course all you parents out there with me, tell your kids when someone gives them something. ‘What do you say…?’

Thank You!

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