Posted by: Leigh Reynolds | April 23, 2013

Popcorn Moments

three_kids Being a mom is hard work. I have a teenage boy, a ten-year-old  diva-girl and an autistic toddler, so this I know. But no matter how many kids a person has, at any age, with any level or variance of challenges, it is hard work to parent.

They come into our lives so tiny, so adorable and so completely dependent upon us. Our world revolves around them and we hung the moon in their eyes. For a while. Our job is to give them the tools and skills they need to become wonderfully self-sufficient adults. Our job is to prepare them to need us a little less every day.

As my kids get older, I seem to fret more about whether I’m doing this right. I am confident I have made mistakes and will continue to do so, but I am striving to do my best. Just about the time I think I’ve fouled up terribly, I get a glimmer of something I’ve done right.

I call them popcorn moments. Sometimes they come out of nowhere, bursting into the day unexpectedly. And often they are gone just as quickly. If I am not careful I will miss them – but these popcorn moments are fuel for my soul, when I am smart enough to savor them.

Maybe it’s Jake getting up early on a Saturday to help at a homeless shelter, or when I catch him holding the door for a lady without being reminded. There are those moments when the teenage angst is at bay and we can just laugh, because he is marvelously clever and entertaining. Or the way he is with Wil – loving, attentive, engaged.

photo (1)Maybe it’s Tess deciding not to care what the ‘popular kids’ think and just being that girl’s friend anyway, or the moment she chose to ‘just get over it’ and be able to sing a solo. It’s the hand-written notes she sometimes leaves me. Then there is the way she takes care of her baby-bubba – pushing him to do his best because she believes in him so fiercely.

With Wil the moments are different. I am still figuring out parenting a child with autism. What I am learning most is how much I have to learn from him. How to truly listen. How to slow down and take it all in. How to take time to shut out the rest of the world and just enjoy the beauty of whatever is right in front of me. How to smile more and laugh often, no matter what life flings by me. How to be more accepting, more loving, more peaceful and kind.

It’s when Wil called me Momma for the first time in over a year. Or when this boy who rarely says one word, much less a sentence, tells his wonderful therapist “let me go.” (Needless to say, she did. He went right back to all smiles.) He hasn’t called me Momma since that day. He hasn’t strung two words together again, but he walks with me and holds my hand. He grabs both my cheeks, smiles a huge smile, pulls my face to his and says “eyes” as he stares into mine. He repeats the punch line to a joke on Sesame Street – “Roar, Ah choo, choo” – and laughs and laughs. (In case you are wondering, that’s a lion with a cold.)

Life is hard, but there are beautiful popcorn moments every day if we just stop and notice them. And it’s those popcorn moments that get us through.

There is this song I love, “Life Is Hard but God is Good” by Pam Thum. If you’ve never heard it it’s worth a listen… I have clung to this song at many moments in my life.  The reality is, life IS hard. The reality is, God IS good. This side of heaven is a struggle – one we are supposed to push our way through, running in such a way as to get the prize. Find your popcorn moments. Notice and treasure them. They are God’s way of whispering in your ear, “It’s alright. I am with you. I love you, and you are doing OK.”



  1. I love that song. Those popcorn moments keep us slogging along.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for sharing a positive thought!

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