I’m tap tap taping on my keyboard inside the Starbucks at Target when a dad carrying two infant carriers, one in each hand like barbells, comes in to sit at the table next to me. The carriers are draped with matching sky-blue blankets, and I smile knowing it’s likely twin boys snugged under them.
Since I’m also the mama of twin boys, I’m immediately smitten with these two tiny ones and don’t get much work done once they enter the room. I deduce the twins’ mama is the Starbucks barista who made my almond milk chai latte with extra foam.
Given my daughter’s evening activity held across the street ends soon, I feel it’s a good time for me to pack up my things and go. As I place my too-tall stack of books in my bag, I casually say to the dad,
“Twin baby boys?”
“Yep,” he replies with the air of a man who’s answered the same question many times.
“I have twin boys myself, except they’re just a liiittle older at 18.”
He smiles with a far-off look, like eighteen years is a million miles down the road. Eighteen years ago, I thought it was too.
“Oh really?” he replies.
“Yep. And you will sleep again, I promise.”
He laughs and says something about getting them on the same schedule.
I throw my bag over my shoulder and turn to leave. But before I do, I feel that familiar nudge to drop a word of encouragement their way. I won’t be left alone till I leave it, so leave it I do.
“Also,” I add. “You’re doing a good job, mom and dad.”
The dad smiles and say something like, “Well, I don’t know, but thanks for that.”
I tell them goodbye then leave Starbucks and head out the sliding Target doors.
When my daughter and I return home, I see my own twin sons, stretching to nearly 6’4” and 6’2”, lounging on the sectional sofa in the flannel pants they’ve basically worn all Christmas break. I think back to those tiny babies from Starbucks, so fresh with the fragrance of heaven, and I feel like time fast-forwarded from when my own babies were that little to today.
In reality, we’ve lived over 9,467,085 minutes within their eighteen years. Within those minutes we’ve known heartache that happened and dreams realized. We’ve lived a mixed bag of good and difficult and hard and easy moments of side-splitting laughter, heart-splitting tears, and heart-healing love.
Time is such an interesting thing, isn’t it? We can look in the rear-view mirror and see it moved miles in a moment.
But when we sit in the middle of a season or look ahead, it seems to drag its feet, moving glacial forming slow.
I read in a book recently about a comet hunter who admitted to logging nine hundred hours at an eyepiece before he saw his first comet. And his advice to other comet hunters goes like this:
- Stay at the eyepiece and keep looking.
- Watch the sky every day.
- Study as many established comets as you can so you’ll recognize one when it appears.
- Be patient. The do-or-die approach rarely works.
I think about this as all of us wait on something. Perhaps that kid you’re raising isn’t embracing what’s best for him as soon as you hoped. Perhaps that change you’re living doesn’t yet feel like home. Perhaps that friendship you’re enduring isn’t moving in an easier direction.
Sometimes all it needs is time. We must stay at the eyepiece and be patient.
I imagine while those hunting for comets are in the wait, they see all kinds of other marvelous finds. Fast rotating satellites. Quick-draw shooting stars. Ancient-named constellations. A thousand pictures of God’s wonder made visible while staring through the eyepiece.
It makes me ask myself, “As you wait for the comet in your own life to show, Kristen, what other pictures of beauty can you find while you wait?”