When I was a child, my parents bought me a pogo stick. I’m not sure if it was a birthday gift or something I found under the tree at Christmas, but there’s no doubt that I first discovered it in the Sears and Roebuck catalog.
I loved that toy. I was outside every chance I got, bouncing up and down the street in front of our home.
The problem was the rubber piece on the bottom of the stick wasn’t designed to last forever. It could easily be replaced, but if not, the toy would become useless.
My parents never replaced it.
Knowing myself the way I do, I asked them multiple times to fix my useless toy. But somehow my beloved gift ended up in my dad’s workshop, a place it stayed until I eventually forgot about it.
I have no idea where it is now, but obviously the decision was eventually made to just get rid of it.
The experiences I’ve had as a parent have helped me to understand that you have to clear clutter out of your house on a regular basis. I also now can see that time in my life from my parents’ perspective, something that was impossible for me when I was that little girl bouncing around on that toy.
I can’t say how much that pogo stick cost. I have no idea if my parents had to save for it or if they easily purchased it. Those just aren’t the types of questions that swirl around inside a child’s head.
However they got that pogo stick, I ended up with it and can remember being ridiculously happy. Even if it was only for a very short time.
Turns out this was a time in my parents’ life when happiness was something they had to search to find.
I knew my mom was sick, knew she was spending a lot of time going to the hospital for treatments and surgery, knew just about everything at home was changing, but I was young.
And when you’re young, your focus tends to be a whole lot more on yourself than on others.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve developed an appreciation of what their life had been like back then. I cannot imagine the sadness they felt as they watched me on that pogo stick, knowing my mom hadn’t been guaranteed a tomorrow.
Watching me play must have been excruciating, a reminder that, for my mom, the child bouncing up and down the street would never grow into a teenager, never grow to be a woman.
Even though I appreciate having parents who loved me enough to make sure I got the gift I wanted, I now understand they actually gave me a much better one. It’s a gift I don’t think they realized they were sharing with me.
As much as I longed for more time on that pogo stick, my memories always take me back to what it felt like as I learned to balance on that toy.
I can still feel the thrill of staying on it a little bit longer than I had the day before. I enjoyed every second I spent on that toy.
I now see that my mom too, made the most of every moment she had as my mother.
I’ve often wondered why I spent so much time in hospital waiting rooms. I’ve come to realize it was a special time for her, all that time she had with me as we travelled to and from those hospitals that were far from home.
I know now that when we stopped for lunch, she wanted to be with me more than she wanted whatever she ordered to eat.
At the time I was probably bugging her about why my pogo stick was rusting away in my dad’s workshop. I didn’t understand that my life with my mom was slowly going away too.
I had twelve wonderful years with my mom. It wasn’t nearly enough, but as I’ve aged I’ve figured out how much of a gift that time was.
She loved me unconditionally, helping me to become the person I am today.
She was kindness personified, causing me to approach others with the same gentle compassion I saw on her face time and time again.
She drew her strength from God during a time when she must have felt weak in every possible way, allowing me to lean into His grace and mercy too.
I’ll never get on a pogo stick again. I’m too old for one thing, but I also have no desire to play on one anymore. That time in my life has simply become part of my past.
But the memory lives on inside of me.
I’ll never understand why my mom had to die, but I have figured out it’s not the type of thing I’m supposed to understand.
I doubt if it ever crossed my parents mind to explain to me why they didn’t fix my toy. If I had to guess, I’d say life was too overwhelming for them to focus on what I know would have been an easy fix.
I understand now that nothing felt easy for them back then, nothing at all.
I’m glad I now understand that what seemed so easy to my young mind was possibly the one more thing my parents couldn’t possibly have added to their giant list of responsibilities.
Time has a way of helping us see things from the perspective of others.
Time has a way of reminding us to enjoy the gift of the present instead of longing for what we’ve lost or can no longer have.
Time has a way of letting us understand the truth of Isaiah 55:8- “ ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.”