I am often told to enjoy every moment with my children while they are little. I see the wisdom behind those remarks, but I have to admit that it’s not always easy.
Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself to enjoy these moments because they do speed by. But every now and then, there are those moments when I can’t help but appreciate my little people and the stage we are in right then.
I love those golden moments when it just comes easily and you can see your child’s heart and what an amazing person they are. Your heart swells with love and pride and you pluck those moments to hold onto forever.
Usually those golden moments are just little ordinary things such as eating lunch together, watching the rain fall outside our window or watching my children all together getting along.
Often, the best of life is found in those ordinary moments. Those will be the memories that form the fabric of their childhood. My children may not remember each individual moment but they will remember them more as the way they feel about their childhood.
Recently, I picked my daughter up from the nursery at church. She proudly showed me her artwork. One in particular caught my eye. It was a picture of the two of us looking at the stars. At first, I did not remember us doing that. But then Violet explained that it was at Grandma’s house.
And then I remembered. Last summer while we were visiting my mom I let the kids stay up late to look at the stars. We laid out on the trampoline in the velvety darkness of a June night and marveled at all of those bright shining lights hovering above us.
My mom lives in the country in Illinois amidst vast cornfields and bean fields. The crickets were singing and thousands of fireflies floated up and down blinking their lights all around us. It was a magical moment.
It was not a big effort. It did not cost anything. And yet my 4-year-old still remembers it as such a special moment a year later.
I have a similar memory of my dad pulling me out into a cold, crisp winter night to look at the stars. Winter nights in Illinois are so cold and the crisp dry air makes the stars so clear. We stood outside heads pointed to the sky and my dad showed me constellations visible that night. All these years later it is still a special memory for me.
I was lucky to have 24 years with my dad before he died. He wasn’t perfect, but he was a good dad. The things I remember most, my best memories of him, are not birthday or Christmas presents he got for me but the time he spent with me. My father (and my mom, too) was good at investing time with his daughters.
I fondly remember hauling hay, riding our horses, building fences and just conversations we had riding in his truck together. I also remember things he taught me things like how to drive with confidence in the snow, how to use a nail gun, lay shingles, mix and pour concrete. It was just life. Just ordinary moments that I will remember forever.
My son finished second grade this week. He was invited to a little end-of-the-school-year celebration. I watched him play with his friends and thought of the whole summer laying before us, wide with potential.
During the school year, we tend to get caught up in our schedules, running from one thing to the next.
This summer, I am looking forward to the chance to slow down, savor the moment and make magical memories for my children and myself.
Author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. wrote, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” I am hoping to keep this thought in mind because it is incredibly true.
My hope is that you will find time to slow down and invest in yourself and those around you. Perhaps that is not sustainable all the time. But there are always those golden moments to be found.
Debbie Beggs of Poulsbo writes that when her daughter, Becca, was 3 she let her try a pre-made individually wrapped Rice Krispie treat for the first time.
Becca took a bite and chewed for a little bit, but then spit it out onto the opened wrapper. She carefully re-wrapped her chewed up piece, slid it across the table and said to her mom, “Happy birthday, Mommy.”
Mary Jones of Tracyton was preparing lunch when her daughter, Tara, 2, came into the kitchen and asked to bake a pie.
“Not today, sweetheart,” Mary said. “I don’t have any flour.”
Tara turned around, went out to the garden and promptly returned with a big smile and a flower.
Last summer, Diana and Craig Frazier of Poulsbo spent countless hours redoing their deck. Craig even spent his birthday working on it. After a long day of working on the deck, they had a cake for Craig and sang to him. He blew out the candles and one of the kids asked him, “What’d you wish for, Dad?”
Under her breath, 5-year-old Evie said, “He probably wished the deck was finished.”
I would love to hear your funny kid stories. So please send them my way. Parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and people who love kids, please send your stories and cute kid photos to email@example.com.
I look forward to hearing from you.
— Quinn Ward is a former journalist living in Poulsbo. She has been recording the amazing and outrageous things her kids say since they have been able to talk.