By Sarah Anderson

The other day, by the time I walked out the door, I had already lived a thousand lifetimes. I had been awake for two hours, but was ready to crawl back in bed and request a do-over. It isn’t my favorite way to usher in daylight—with chaos, messes and more noise than my non-morning person ears can comfortably tolerate.

Every parent is familiar with those days—when the whirlwind of activity furiously descends before you can even get a sip of coffee in, and it maintains a steady speed and intensity as the hours wear on. The entirety of your waking hours is spent simply trying to catch up.  On days like these, my world seems small. Itty-bitty children small. Confined. A little claustrophobic. It is hard to feel sentimental and purposeful about my role as a mom when I can’t keep up with laundry, dishes, and the unexplicably sticky little hands tugging at me.

I read an article the other day detailing the origins and meaning behind a letter from the Hebrew alphabet, vav. Scripture mentions it for the first time in Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The letter is said to have connective meaning—like our word “and”. Heaven and earth. But it is more than that too. It is used later to refer to the hooks used to join the curtains enclosing the tabernacle—the earthly dwelling for a holy God. In other words, vav is a clasp, a bond, a method of joining what may not otherwise be fastened together. It brings two realities together and connects them—an unlikely marriage and meeting of two vastly different things.

Days like the one I recently experienced need a vav. I know two realities to be true. Life with toddlers is overwhelming and feels endless. But, life with toddlers doesn’t stay this way forever and will be over far sooner than I know. Two seemingly conflicted ideas, desperate for a hook, for something to bridge what feels like an infinite gap. The messiness of the now and the reality of what I know is coming need a bridge so I can be more present in my present.

For me, the vav comes at night. It comes when the lights are turned off and the toys are put away. It comes when I take the time to direct intentional glances towards the rooms that hold the boys who run me ragged. It comes when I realize, right before my eyes, right under my nose, right down the hall from me, miracles are unfolding. Tiny bodies are growing. Souls are aging. It comes when I can pause long enough to realize I am witness, every day, to the greatest marvel made accessible to humanity. I get to watch babies become boys—who will someday become men.

Vav for me is when I am at peace with the chaos of my days and the understanding that they will pass slower than I would like, but be over faster than I am ready for. It is when I learn to marry the disarray that can be life with toddlers to the beautiful necessity such days are to the bigger picture being created in the blur of this season. I have come to believe that every parent needs a vav—the chance to see outside the overwhelming present to the imminent future. And it is our responsibility to find it and hold fast to it.

Vav is a perspective changer. A reality grounder. And when joined rightly, and hooked correctly, it is a sanity preserver. Tomorrow may find me just as harried, just as tired, just as caffeine-needy as today. But I know, what I will find at the end of the day to make me get up and do it all again. Two sleeping boys. One grateful mama. And a God who joins them both together. A beautiful vav if I ever saw one.

Sarah Anderson writes for XP3 student curriculum at Orange.  She is married to Rodney Anderson and is mom to two bouncy boys, Asher and Pace.