We were given some gently used books from my sister in law. This bookmark fell out of one of them when we opened it. The bookmark was made by my niece, Andrea, obviously.
At the time this bookmark fell out of the book, I was struck by how similar the bookmark is to the bookmarks my daughters are currently making.
So I like to use this bookmark. It makes me think of Andrea, of my own daughters, of my sister in law, Michelle, of Michelle's motherhood to Andrea, and of my own motherhood to my girls.
I married Andrea's uncle when she was still a little girl, so I got to watch her grow up. (That's one of the privileges of marriage that people don't tell you about. You get to be a part of a family.)
So I got to watch Andrea's mom raise her (mostly from afar.) But nevertheless, I learned a lot from watching Michelle, because I my eyes were open and my heart was humble. (I find those are necessary requirements for learning and I also find that if you have open eyes and a humble heart, you will learn from everyone, everywhere, all the time.)
Almost twenty years later, Andrea is now all grown up and has her a little daughter of her own. Andrea's an excellent woman, the kind few can find. Watching her with her baby girl inspires me and invigorates me to the task of motherhood anew.
This bookmark serves, of course, to keep my place in whatever book I am using, but it also serves to remind me how quickly my daughters are growing up, like Andrea grew up quickly, and how what I do now is shaping my daughters, the way Andrea's mom's care for her shaped her.
I watched my sister in law's diligence in motherhood. One memory I have is of Andrea coming home from school in a certain t-shirt one afternoon when we were there for a visit. Later, I saw my sister-in-law folding that same t-shirt late that same evening before she went to bed. That's how quickly she had done the laundry! Her lamp had not gone out before she had put that shirt away in her daughter's drawer. That made a huge impression on me, showing me what a diligent mother may look like.
This bookmark reminds me of all that when I see it. It reminds me to be faithful and very present here and now with my girls. Time is actually passing quickly for me and my daughters, too. This little bookmark brings all that to mind and I am strengthened to be a better mom by keeping it in my books, so that it stays before my eyes and heart.