Moments matter. Life is full of them. The ones that surprise you and the ones that excite you. The ones that sadden you and the ones that make you mad. Then there are the ones that you want to hold onto and remember forever. As mommas, we know each day flies by. When we take a second to catch our breath, a half a year has gone by, or three, or eighteen.
As a mom of two adult children, I realize the value in the little moments. There are many days I can look back on now and see how I squashed a moment or missed it altogether because I was concerned about other things. I’m a multi-tasking problem solver deluxe, and my kids know it. But they also recognize when I am distracted, disinterested, or disengaged and that hurts their hearts more than my absence. We wound our children’s little hearts when we are mentally absent; tackling our mile-long to do list, or worried about everyone except the ones right under our feet. They take mental notes and make decisions about what we do or don’t care about, and adjust their routines and expectations accordingly.
If we aren’t really paying attention to the story they are telling, they stop telling us stories. They find someone else who will listen. If we are too busy to braid their hair or comment on the outfit they picked for school, their big date, or the party of the century, they quit asking for our help and our opinion.
If we are more concerned about things and people outside of our homes than the ones in it, they quit trying so hard or they start performing for everyone else’s attention. If we are more worried about hurrying them to the next thing and don’t stop long enough to study them, watch them, see them, we miss some of the most important moments that become the memories we hold onto and carry with us the rest of our lives.
All of our actions create reactions in our kids. Most of their reactions are in direct opposition of our hopes and desires for them and our relationship with them.
When my kids were growing up I was a full-time working mom, serving in a ministry position on a growing church staff. I had a lot of responsibilities, projects, people, and events to juggle. I worked really hard at being present physically with my kids, taking them to and from school, or enjoying holiday breaks together. Where I missed it was being present emotionally. I let my thoughts get caught up with replaying the meeting I was in right before I picked them up, and I missed the chatter in the backseat about their day. I couldn’t ask them to repeat it all over again because then they’d know I wasn’t paying attention.
We always did “highs and lows” in the car after I picked them up from school. Everyone shared the best and worst/hardest thing about their day. Those moments are priceless treasures. I learned so much about my kids; what was important or funny or hard to them. One of my favorite memories are the days that my son answered that seeing me at the end of his day or going for an after-school snack together was the high point of his day. Oh, how my heart would melt!
But there were other days I sent text messages, answered phone calls, hurried to the next after-school activity, or rushed the kids though the grocery store so I could fix dinner before football practice. I missed those moments because I was more concerned about using our time efficiently and effectively to accomplish a task and fulfill all my roles.
Valuing the moments instead of the minutes is stopping the mad rush of busyness to embrace the toddler who wants to dress herself. It is taking them in your arms and listening to their stories instead of rushing to the next event. Valuing the moment is putting your phones down and making eye contact with your teenager; asking them questions to get them talking instead of barking a list of chores and critiques.
Valuing the moments instead of the minutes means we are engaged, interested, and taking mental notes so that when that sweet blonde-headed boy is 18 and asks everyone at the dinner table their highs/lows for the day, we remember those irreplaceable moments in the car when they were little and the incredible conversations and great laughs that came from them.
Moments matter. Create them, celebrate them, and count them. Minutes fly by, but moments become memories that stay with us for a lifetime.
Megan Lacefield has been married for 22 years to her high school sweetheart, Chad. She is the mother of two inspiring adult children: Chandler, 21 and Riley Chad, 18. Megan has been described as powerfully passionate and a big-picture visionary willing and ready to share truth and wisdom gained on her journey. She is profoundly practical, engaging, and downright real. Her passion is to speak, write, and encourage couples and women, both young and old, and provide them with doable ideas and tangible tools to empower them to live their priorities and love their lives. Follow Megan on her blog EverydayPearls.org on Facebook or Instagram!