I remember learning how to use the VCR remote when I was a kid. It was amazing how much control that little device gave me! If I was scared, I could fast forward. When there was a part of the movie that I loved or if I felt like I missed something? Well, it was time to rewind! And if other things came up that needed my attention, I could always press pause and continue playing later. It was magical.
My kids, of course, have no idea what it’s like to watch movies (much less regular TV!) without the aid of a remote control. What it’s like to have to suffer through the commercials or simply hide your eyes if things get scary. They don’t know what it’s like to simply have to remember what happened instead of rewinding for added enjoyment. But I do, and it seems like life teaches me these lessons more and more each and every day.
In fact, the longer I’m a parent, the more I wish I had a super duper special remote control that I could use on my life. And here’s exactly how I’d use those magical buttons.
This is the everyday, baseline setting. Life is pretty good; things are going as planned. When our kids are growing, we constantly watch to see what happens next! We live our lives and see how things play out, shape up, and move on. We watch our children as their episodes turn to seasons turn to series. Sometimes, things are funny. Sometimes, they are sad. But, as life goes on, the PLAY button is where our normal lives. Each and every new “normal” that comes along with all of the various plot developments God sends our way.
Thank God for the record button! Every time we whip out our iPhone to take a video, snap a selfie, or jot a Facebook status, we press the RECORD button on life. We have the incredible ability to take these little snapshots of our days (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Videos of first steps, ballet recitals, and jumps into the pool. Pictures of toothless grins, kids who’ve finally outgrown Mom, and First Communion dresses. The most real feature of our metaphorical remote, we need to use our RECORD button wisely.
Have you ever had a bad day with your kids and wanted a do-over? I know I have. How nice would it be to push that REWIND button and swallow back words that hurt or make the choice you feel you should have? No need to worry if you lashed out when you should have hugged hard! Just rewind and try again.
Or, conversely, have you had a moment that was just so perfect, so beautiful that you wish you could relive it again and again? REWIND button to the rescue. So many moments in my motherhood journey come to mind when I think of it this way. Holding my babies for the first time… watching their faces when they take off on two wheels… snuggles after nap time… First Communion when they received Jesus… witnessing them at Confirmation… laughing as we jump in the waves at the ocean… Too many moments to count, I guess.
If only we could fast-forward the hard parts of life. The student-driver phase, the 3 year-old tantrums, the missed curfews, the surly tween moodiness — FAST FORWARD! Sickness, grief, and heartache could all be bypassed with the push of a button. But do you know what else would be bypassed? All of the learning. All of the growing. Every little moment of life that makes us who we are.
I have to be honest. In this season of life with our kids, I think this is the button I would use the most. This August our youngest will be in the 3rd grade. Our oldest is one year away from leaving for college. The middle two are starting middle school and high school. Both of our boys are now taller than I am and the girls are growing like weeds and all I want to know is where is my freaking PAUSE button?!
I’d like to make time stand still so I can get all of the myriad things I need to accomplish done so that I can press PLAY again and truly enjoy what I want to do. I want to pause the moments that all six of us are laughing around the kitchen table at dinner. The times when the boys are roughhousing in the pool with their dad. The swim meets where the four of them all get along and cheer for each other loud and proud. It feels as though time is just slipping through my fingers and I can’t slow it down no matter how hard I try.
If someone could figure out a way to pause my life right where it is at this moment, I can’t think of a price too high that I would pay for the privilege.
God’s holding the remote. Not me.
When I was a kid, it was always understood that whoever held the remote, held the power. And so it is with this life we lead with our kids. As much as we would like to think that we’re the ones in charge, in our heart of hearts, we know better. We know that how fast time flies by or how slowly we feel it trudge on is not in our control. God holds the remote, friends. He’s the one who decides not only the timing, but the ultimate outcome of the plot.
Sure, we can press our hand-held record buttons from time to time. And we can rewind the good-parts version in our heads as much as we’d like. But the best plan for ourselves and our children is just to ask Him to press PLAY and see where He leads us. Because I promise you, it’s bound to be a better show than we could ever imagine if we were the ones left holding the remote.