The end of this story is that Sam did, in fact, turn around before the escalator reached the bottom.
He did not fall over those people or crack his head open on that tile floor.
His habit of riding escalators backwards is just another nerve-racking adventure of parenting young kids.
While he’s doing this, and I’m wrangling the other three kids at the top of the escalator, some old woman will surely grab my hand to say, “CHERISH THESE DAYS. THEY GO BY SO FAST.”
While I’m sure there will be a day I miss a gaggle of kids holding onto me while I desperately pray my kid doesn’t splat his head on a mall floor, I’m not there yet.
Which is exactly the point.
One day I will know the end of our family’s story. I will also be an octogenarian, riding the escalator in the mall, on my way to pick up some Valentines gifts for my great-grandchildren. I will miss my sons and daughters, my sons and daughters-in-law, my grandkids, my grandkids-in-law.
A small boy riding the escalator backwards will remind me of when Sam used to do that. Maybe I’ll even remember how I worried I always was that he would trip and fall.
Or maybe I won’t remember any of that. Maybe I’ll just see the desperate look in that mom’s face, the mom who is yelling to her son, while also holding the hands of three other kids.
I’ll recognize the look as the exact way I felt during those fleeting years when I was too busy to sleep and to tired for showers.
I’ll realize that was such a short season in my life, that the sleep and showers come back.
But the kids move on.
I will be the mom who has finished the book. I will have laughed at the fun chapters, cherished the sweet ones, and bit my nails through the intense ones.
I will want to tell that young mom-still buried in the story–that it will all turn out so satisfying.
I will want to tell her, “Don’t skip the scary chapters, they make the fun chapters so much sweeter. Don’t close your eyes during the uncomfortable scenes, at the end of the story, you’ll see how important those were.”
But I’ll recognize the look in her eyes as a mom deep in her own story, a woman too busy to really hear me.
So, I’ll just touch her hand and say, “Cherish these days.”
One day, when she puts down her book, when she knows the end of her kids’ story, she will know what I’m talking about.
She will know the end of the story is that God was really the one holding onto those kids…
…even as they rode the escalator backwards.