Every parent has gone through a sleepless night with a baby or dealt with a defiant toddler who refuses to go to sleep on time. Some parents relish this extra time with their children and only view this as a mild speed bump in their sleeping schedule, but most look forward to getting eight hours of solid sleep again. Recently, Kayleigh has started a new bedtime ritual for herself- lounging around on the couch with us all night instead of going to sleep at her bedtime. This new habit of hers does infringe on my relaxation at the end of the night; after a long day cooped up with two young kids I just want to zone out in front of the TV and watch the Bachelor, but I just can’t send her away when she’s begging to spend time with us.
This situation got me thinking about a recent segment in church called “Losing your marbles”. It taught us about how time is precious and how quickly it goes. The ‘marbles’ aspect of it was in reference to how much time you have with your children before they grow up and leave for college. The pastor had jars filled with marbles, each marble representing a day in the life of your child until they turned 18 from various ages. This visual reminder put into perspective how little time we have with our babies until they set out on their own as adults. It’s the type of thing that makes you want to spend all day with your kids and just try to imprint every little thing they do into your memory so you never forget.
Realistically, I know my babies won’t be babies for forever. Someday, not too far away, they will have boyfriends and girlfriends of their own; they will stay up all night talking on the phone and going on the computer. They will choose a trip to the movies with their friends over family movie night with us.
It’s easy to get annoyed, especially as a stay at home mom locked in a house all day with young kids. I try to reflect as much as possible on how I act everyday and curb my thoughts. I know I complain about things that aren’t even a big deal. If the living room isn’t spotless when I go to bed, does it really matter all that much? Children make messes, and things get broken. Time slips away and not everything on the to-do list is going to get done. But, honestly, isn’t spending time with your children more important than mopping and having a home that looks like it came from a magazine?
Maybe we get so preoccupied with our everyday lives that we become numb to the little joys all around us. We become so used to them, that they slip through our mind and don’t even make a dent in our memories. Something as simple as hearing our baby laugh or having dinner together as a family becomes so routine to us that we don’t realize how special it is. Many people don’t get to experience those small, simple joys.
It’s just so important to appreciate the precious time you have left with your children, before they grow up and embark on their own journeys.