“So when do they…?” Mother’s voice trailed off.
“In two days.”
“Two days? That’s not enough time to teach her.”
The concrete felt hot against my back. I saw something moving beside me. A bug crawling up the wall. A round, red ladybug with black dots on its back. “Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children will burn,” I whispered. Mother had taught me that.
“Elsa, for crying out loud, you had ten years to teach her—“
“I did teach her. I taught her how it used to be.”
“You were supposed to teach her how it is now. You were supposed to prepare her.”
–Excerpt from Agenda 21—
I’m in the kitchen, making lunch, just like every other day. All three kids are home since the boys are sick. As they make a lap through the kitchen with their trains, I nearly trip over my five year old. I pause for a minute and suddenly feel like I am running out of time. They are 3, 5 and 6. How much longer do I have before they are no longer under my feet? How much longer do I have to teach them all the things I want to teach them? How to be kind, caring and thoughtful while also being strong, independent and secure in themselves. How much longer will they want to be making a lap through the kitchen with their trains?
Lunch is ready and we sit down to eat. Watching the kids and my husband as they joke and talk, I sit there and soak it in. The kids are still in their pajamas, we are having tacos, my six year old tells a joke and everyone laughs. I want to stop time. I want to keep us all here at the table, happy, safe and secure. In this moment my world is perfect.
Everyone is finished and I am cleaning up the kitchen. With each dish I put in the dishwasher I think of how the world is changing rapidly and it makes my head spin. Watching the news each day shows me that my children are not going to grow up in the same world that I grew up in. Some days I fear that they will have to endure a society that is nearly the exact opposite of what I grew up with. As I finish the dishes I know that no matter how long I have, a year, two years, five years, ten years, I have to focus on what I am teaching them. I will teach them about faith in God, not man-made things. I will teach them history so they can learn from past mistakes. I will teach them to think critically and question boldly, so they are not spoon-fed untrue “facts”. And I will teach them that I love them, that I love their father and that we will make the most of our time together, before it runs out.by