Cherish the Time


Guest post written by Dana Bailey of A Little This – A Little That.

This is a very busy time of year for many families, mine included.  Graduation is upon us.  My second child will be graduating next month from High School.

I can’t help but wonder where did all the time go?

As I sift through pictures of my daughter to prepare a photo memory book, tears often fall as I wonder just where her childhood went.  The time has passed so quickly.  It was only a couple of years ago when she was learning to walk and now I’m about to watch her walk across a stage to receive her diploma.  Now I’m about to watch her walk to her college dorm room that will be her new home for 4 years.

As mothers, our time with our children is so short. I know it doesn’t always feel like it when they are little and they demand so much of you or when they are pre-teens who learn how to argue with you.  I know the days often feel as though God has added many hours and that it will never end. It will end and those sweet little ones will go to sleep…eventually.

When my teenagers were young I was a very stressed out mom.

My temper was short and my days were long.

I expected too much of my children and spent most of my day waiting for them to take a nap so I could have more time for myself.

My heart aches all too often because I don’t remember many of the special times I had with them.  I had my first five kids in less than 5 years.

I didn’t cherish my time with them; I just tried to get through it.

Now they are all teenagers and by the grace of God, they are all wonderful young people who love Jesus.

I learned through some very hard lessons about the importance of cherishing my children and soon my attitude and focus began to change.  I began to see my children as gifts from God, not a burden on my day.

I began to enjoy my children.

I looked up the definition of “cherish” in the dictionary.  It said “to treat with affection and tenderness; hold dear. 2. to keep fondly in mind”.  Then I went to the Greek dictionary and found the Greek word.  “Thalpo” was the Greek for cherish and it meant, “To soften by heat, to keep warm”.  That reminded me of a mother bird and how she keeps her eggs warm until they are ready to hatch.

In Luke 2:19, when Mary had just given birth to Jesus it says, “But Mary treasured up all these things in her heart.”  I think she must have cherished every moment with Jesus.  Many times I find myself watching my children and treasuring their play in my heart.

I want to remember their childhood because it will be gone very soon.

Here are some things I have learned to do to help me better cherish my children.

Cuddle Time…make it happen!

When my children were little I had a hard time cuddling with them.  All I could think about was all the things I needed to be doing while they sat in my lap.  I’m so thankful that I learned to take the time to cuddle with the little ones I have now.

My four year old has a morning routine of crawling in my lap (no matter what I’m doing) and we have top of the morning cuddle time.  I love it!

Sometimes he sleeps late and doesn’t get up until I’m already busy.  That is the hardest for me.  I have to stop what I’m doing so he can get his cuddle time.  My favorite is when he wakes up really early while I’m still in bed & crawls in bed with me.  I know that when I look back I will never regret making that cuddle time happen, but I know that if I don’t make it happen I will regret it.  I know I regret already not taking the time with my older children.  Cherish the cuddle time.

Let them see your eyeballs.

I can be so focused on something and not realize my child needs my attention.  They need to see our eyeballs looking into their eyeballs as they talk to us.

I learn so much about the heart of my children when I look into their eyes when they talk to me.

I can tell when they are hurting but don’t say it.

I can tell when they are lying and I can tell when they are disappointed.

The eyes are very telling.  Once again, learning to stop and look them in the eyes will give us amazing memories to cherish later.

Get them involved in your day.

My first 5 children were born in less than 5 years.  I didn’t take me long that in order to keep up with them and still get something done I had to get them involved in what I was doing.

They were my helpers.

They helped pull clothes out of the dryer, unload the dishwasher, pick up toys, and make dinner.  I kept them busy while I was busy. This was a win-win situation.

They were learning important skills and I knew where they were.

Yes, they often got on my nerves because their little hands couldn’t do the task like me, but I knew I was training them for better tasks ahead so I had to learn to be patient.

I was more patient when I cherished that time with them.

We would talk about all kinds of things and I would hear their little hearts as they expressed their feelings or thoughts.

I look back on those days with sweet emotions as I remember some of the things that were said.

What about teenagers?

In spite of how I was warned, I love having teenagers!

Right now we have 6 teenagers in our house.  We have good days and bad days.  We have rebellious attitudes, but we also have very caring and compassionate attitudes.

Cherish the time you have left with your teens.

Often when our children get to this age they are ready to move on and you are ready for them to move on.  But I encourage you to stay in their lives.  Be involved.

Look for moments to have conversations with them.

They still need to see your eyeballs.

They may not need cuddle time anymore, but they need your physical touch.

I love it when my big guys hug me.  They could easily pick me up and I love it when they lean over to give me a hug.  My girls and I still enjoy “girly” conversations.  I listen to them as they work through difficult friendships or situations.

My favorite part of having teenagers is the mature relationship.  We can discuss theology, politics and current events.  It is a common thing to find at least 4 of our teenagers in our room at night discussing with my husband and I the most recent events in the World or on the news.  I don’t push them out of my room, I want them there.  I love that they want to talk to us.

I cherish my time with them.

Journal the special moments.

Another thing we can do is to journal about our children.

Take notes on what they are doing.

Make notes about bad attitudes or even better write down when you catch them doing something good.

Notes of Excellence; I write down things I see in my children that can only be described as excellent.  I try to praise them for those things & I thank God for their excellent traits.

    Pray for your children.

    I think one of the most important things we can do for our children is to pray for them.

    Use scripture in your prayers. God loves to hear his Word spoken back to him.

    Pray for their hearts and mind to remain pure and have a hunger for the Lord.

    Pray that they will desire repentance for their sin.

    Pray for their purity and for their future mates.

      Learning to cherish the time with our children can be challenging, but you will never look back and regret it.  You will never look back and wish you had not spent so much time with your children.  But you can look back and wish you had spent more time with your children.

      “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25

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