Cherish the moment, they say…


I’m currently about 60 pages from completing Mary Beth Chapman’s book, Choosing to SEE.  Have you read it?  You really should.  But I will give you a few warnings up front.

  • Have Kleenex at the ready because when she gets to the experience of losing her daughter Maria, unless you are a robot, you will likely cry and cry hard.  I’m not sure I have ever sobbed quite so hard while reading a book before.  Except maybe Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, which I read late at night while pregnant thereby setting myself up for disaster.  Which leads me to my next point…
  • Do not, under any circumstances, read this book after 10:00 when you’re already tired and perhaps a bit emotional.

Consider yourselves warned.

Lee is currently out of town and I don’t know about you all, but when daddy is away in our home, the mice think they can play.  That’s a metaphor, of course, the mice being our kids.  Not real mice.  If real mice were coming out to play, the kids and I would be at a hotel.

It’s tough when Lee’s not around.  The kids need him.  I need him.  Every process becomes that much more difficult and without daddy’s firm voice, sometimes certain little ones forget how to behave.  Particularly at bedtime.

I’ve heard so often that bedtime is a sweet time to enjoy your kids.  “Lay down and talk with them,” the proverbial “they” say.  “Enjoy those snuggle moments at bedtime while they’re young because when they’re grown those moments are gone.”  Every time I hear that advice, I want someone to tell me how to enjoy bedtime and yet still get them to go to bed!

I’ll admit it.  Bedtime is not my favorite time of the day.  It’s hectic and stressful.  The kids get wild and rambunctious.  If I lay down and talk with one, all three have to pile in with us because “IT’S NOT FAIR” otherwise.  I don’t get to lay and snuggle with just one. 

On top of that, the older two share a room and to be quite honest, all I want is for them to go to sleep.  If they had it their way, they’d have a wild party every night for a couple of hours before slipping into slumber.  Which leaves me feeling like the Wicked Witch of the West in order to get them to be quiet and go to bed.

Last night was no exception.  It had been the longest of long days and everyone was wiped.  I knew they just needed to sleep and yet, once again, as soon as they got into their room the antics began.  And I had to put a stop to it.

    Then I read this from Mary Beth’s book:

    How would I have lived differently if I knew that my time with Maria was going to be this short?  Regretfully I would have lived much differently.  I would have purposely hugged and kissed more.  I would have tried to memorize and lock away in my heart certain smells and smiles.  I would have colored more and worked less.  I would have laughed more and fussed less.

    Bedtime wouldn’t have become a chore to check off the list of things to get done.  Instead it would have been more of an opportunity to listen about the day and offer whatever words were needed.  The swimming pool wouldn’t have been too cold to swim in.  The flowers in the garden would have all been pick, and definately more ice cream would have been consumed.”  Mary Beth Chapman, Choosing to SEE.

I read this and I nod.  This falls into line with the thought that we should live each day as if it’s going to be our last.  And yet…

I can’t really live today like it’s going to be my last.  If I knew for sure today would be my last day, I wouldn’t worry about mopping the floor or answering emails.  (Okay, I actually just laughed out loud because I’m not worried in the slightest about mopping the floor.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I did that.)  I wouldn’t be concerned with brushing the kid’s hair or what kind of food they ate.  But the fact is, I have to cherish today as if it’s my last while still living like it’s not.

How do you cherish each fleeting moment with your kids knowing that you still have to keep routine?  I want my kids to have fun with me and I want life to be full of laughter.

I also want to sleep.

I think it’s a balance.  After being the heavy last night and then reading Mary Beth’s words, I felt a weight that I couldn’t shake.  And so I went back to their room.  They were finally calm and were close to slumber.  I slipped my arms around each of them and squeezed tight reminding them that they were loved and cherished by me.  With one last kiss, they both slipped into dreamland with the knowledge that their mom, even when she’s exhausted, loves them fiercely.

That’s the best we can do, right?  “Cherish the moment,” they say.  Well, sometimes the moment is tough to cherish, but the kids?  It’s them that I cherish. 


  1. I really like this post. I am almost finished reading that book and it has made me sit and think of the same things. I think you’re right. “Cherish today as if it’s my last while still living like it’s not.” Thank you for sharing =)

  2. Stefanie A. says

    I got her Mary Beth Chapman’s book for Christmas and although I finished reading it a while ago, it has not left my mind. I LOVE that book. I love how candid she is with her grief and her emotions and I love the things that I learned from reading that book. It changed me. It is definitely a must read!

  3. Stefanie A. says

    I should read my comments before submitting them…..I got her (Mary Beth Chapman) book for Christmas! It’s monday!!! (=

  4. Great post Kelli! I often find myself seeing bedtime as a chore, especially in the middle of the week after a long day at work, but I’m trying to do my best to reflect, enjoy and embrace my special time with Mia. She is at such a fun age right now! I keep remindingg myself that she will eventually be a teenage Mia and won’t want me to hold her, she won’t want to follow me around constantly and need me like she does now. This time is so precious! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I think all the talk of cherishing the moment makes me crazy. Literally. I’m holding The Eldest’s hand and thinking, “Oh, this is sweet. I want to remember this forever. Wait–she’s probably not going to want to hold my hand next year…what will I do then? Maybe I should just sit here for the next 3 hours and hold her hand because this may never happen again…” At some point, cherishing the moment becomes extremely counter-productive. So, I think you said it well: it’s not about the moment, it’s about cherishing the kids.

  6. I’m in the midst of this book as well and wishing I could give it to so many friends. There are many takeaways as I read and meditate and pray, but you’ve hit the most profound one on the head. Thank you.

  7. Great post! I completely agree with all you said (and totally sympathize – or is it empathize? – with you on the bedtime thing, and the whole daddy-out-of-town thing, too. It can be rough!) I’m reading through Choosing to SEE right now, too, and knew I was in trouble when I bawled my way through the dedications at the beginning of the book. Thanks for sharing this.

  8. I really really love this book…so therapuetic for me on so many levels.

  9. I just love your blog, Kelli.Thanks for todays post. 🙂

  10. When I was sent by the Army to a warzone my daughter was 2 and I worried that I’d never hug her again, watch her grow from a baby to a teen and beyond, never share what I thought about God and life, and never see her fall in love. It never occurred to me that she might be taken before me…that’s not the way it should be,
    Kelli, your wonderful post made me realize both sides of the dire consequences of any life cut short. So it’s carpe diem and carpe children,spouse,family,friends and pets. Thanks for awakening my spirit.

  11. “CHerish each day while living like its not your last.” That’s a big challenge for me too.

    And I can tell M hasn’t been home much lately. The boy has been such a handful. (Mouthy and Argumentative!) So I can relate. (But with you having three, I would think its 9 times more difficult!)

    Great post.

  12. I would love to read this special book that make us cherish the very moment we have now. Though I’m not sure if I can find it in Ukraine.
    But I feel it through your post. You have shared your nice emotions. I like especially the phrase that kids should know they are loved and cherished even when their mom is exhausted.

  13. Sveta, I will send you a copy. I think this book would be special to you.

  14. I would be so grateful, Kelli, if you will. I think it will help me understand or just accept the things as they are.