I have trouble loving the now. When now seems more temporary than usual, it’s hard for me to embrace it. Knowing that we now have less than two months, here and like this, does something strange in my heart.


There’s a constant voice, in the back of my mind somewhere, whispering the reminder that next time. Next time the Bear will no longer be two. Next time the baby won’t be so baby. And the reminder hinders my ability to just sit still in the now, and enjoy what is, even though it won’t be like this again. Because falling in love with a season so temporary — it feels like I’m the character on the TV show House, who married a man with a terminal illness.

I find myself keeping my heart at arm’s length instead.

I no longer hoard junk that takes up space in a closet or an attic, but I am a hoarder of moments, wishing I could somehow collect them all and store them in a recess of my mind.

When I was a kid, I used to collect tennis balls for my brother. We had a ball shooter, and he’d practice with it for hours. I’d collect balls as he smashed them strategically over the net, {occasionally in my direction} and put them back in the shooter so that he could keep going. But inevitably, I’d fall behind, and his shots would come too quickly. I’d get overwhelmed that they were coming so fast, and I’d give up trying and wait for him to stop and help me.

These days, in this place, precious moments feel like they are coming at me that quickly. The baby is standing in Goo-Goo’s lap, drooling and smiling, reaching for his nose. The Bear is outside, rolling a toy car around the table on the patio, and Goo-Goo with another car in tow, follows Him. Gammy tickles a four-month-old tummy, he laughs and both their faces are alight. The living room is chilly but filled with light in the early Bloemfontein mornings, and three of us have breakfast at the table while the little one looks on from his stroller.

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. {Psalm 90:12}

It is the eve of four months becoming five for the new addition in our family. These days he pauses nursing just to look up at me. He looks up, his whole face changes with a big smile, and then he laughs at me as a tiny stream of bright white milk rolls down his cheek. I love it, and yet it makes my heart so sore.

I struggle at the thought that these moments can’t all be captured. I can’t pick up the tennis balls fast enough. He won’t remember me holding his finger and us giggling together in a bedroom in Bloem. I might not remember either.

But maybe somewhere down the line, ten years from now, he will be a more secure and peaceful individual because when he was a baby his mother held him and loved him and laughed with him and treasured his smiles, and his father cuddled him and rocked him and played with him until he squealed with baby delight. And his grandparents held and snuggled and walked and loved him, too.

Which would mean the moment isn’t gone or forgotten, it’s stored inside somehow. Captured in a way that megapixels can’t. Stored in a place that doesn’t have a hard drive.

And even the parts of life that are too brief to recount or even remember — a smile from a stranger, the first coo of your firstborn — those parts you might not always be able to hold onto, there’s still so much value in them. In the now, which is all we really have, after all.

I realise I can’t decide not to show up just because now isn’t forever, and can’t be held onto forever. Why drive to the beach and decide not to get out of the car just because you forgot your camera?

It seems my greatest challenge is learning to live right here, right now. If you number your days, I suppose you’ll begin to realise the best one to focus on living is this one.