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.