Author Anna Quindlen once said "The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make...I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
I think that's a wonderful reminder for all of us parents. In our haste to get things done, we are sometimes neglectful of all of those minute, wonderful, here-and-now moments that can pass us by in the blink of an eye, if we're not mindful of them.
I can look at a photograph of my son, taken when he was just three days old, and remember where we were, what I was thinking as I held him, how he smelled (like baby powder and baby oil, after just having his bath!). It's so precious to have that memory, especially now that he's 13, and soon to be a high school student!
It really is true... they grow up so fast. So, if we all take the time to take the time, not only would it be a very valuable lesson, but a wonderful, cherished gift, as well.
*Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
*Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.
*Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.
*Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck and I will buy you one if he comes by.
*Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.
*Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.
*Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.
*Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.
*Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
*Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
*Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.
*Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
*I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore;
*And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask Him for nothing, except one more day…