I wondered about it again on the way to preschool this morning. It seems inevitable, after the scramble to find a bookbag, zip the coats, slip on the shoes, buckle three small people into three car seats, there is a calm that follows and my mind starts flooding.

While we’re out, and in the car, and on the way, I always seem to think about how long it will be like this. Not at all in a how much longer do I have to suffer this but more of a how much longer until they’re grown and gone and I start missing this?Tank 004{As if life itself isn’t enough of a reminder…this little Tank is turning two on Sunday!}

And this morning I was already wondering as I backed down the driveway: what will they remember of these days? When they’re grown and gone off to college or country or career, or children of their own — what will stand out in their minds?

I have this funny memory from my childhood of our wood-paneled minivan, and my Mom and I on the way to the beach. I am sitting on the floor in front of the front seat, turned around to use the seat as a table, eating a sausage biscuit from Hardees. {No surprise my memories often involve food.} And it’s a happy memory — I am excited that I’m going to the beach, I’m excited that I get to sit on the floor, I’m excited because I like sausage biscuits. {America’s answer to the bacon roll with brown sauce, for you Scots I love.}

But what will the Collie kids remember from their childhood? Will they remember our house often being a bit of a mess? End-of-the-month pancakes? Getting their ears tugged for not listening?

I realize I’m afraid to discipline them when they need it because I don’t want that to be what they remember. If we only have eighteen years with each of them under our roof, I want eighteen years of happy. Eighteen years of silly. Eighteen years of bike rides and tickle fights and dancing in the living room.

But there has to be time out in the crib. Sometimes the wooden spoon has to speak to a naughty backside. And I suppose it’s more important for them to be balanced and disciplined individuals eighteen years from now — than for them to just be happy and feel like the Hubs and I are their very good friends.

I heard the story once of some great theologian’s mother, pulling her apron up over her head to pray, in a kitchen full of kids with a case of the naughties. Last night, even after they slept, I still wanted to pull my apron over my head.

I am committed now, more than ever before, because I’m more hungry for help than ever before: parenting needs to start with prayer.

I want them to remember happy, and joy, and pancakes, but even more I want them to remember Who the Lord is, why we love Him, how we live for Him. And I’m trusting Him for two things now: the direction to lead these kids, and love them well, and that they’ll remember more than just the moments where a time-out or a wooden spoon or a toy put up in the closet was the focus. I’m trusting they’ll remember how accepted, how treasured, how loved they are…always and no matter what.

Isn’t it beautiful — I think He wants us to remember the same thing.