The Wedding Gift That Changed How I Look at My Kids

Fall 2011 436

“Be sure to take pictures in your heart,” a friend had told me before my wedding day. “On your wedding day, it will go by so quickly. All of the hard work and planning will all be over in a matter of minutes. If you don’t make a point to remember it, you will look back, and it will seem like a blur. So, stop. Look around. Take in the sounds, the lights, the way you feel in that moment. Capture it. Process it. And store it forever.”

I replayed those words as I stood in the children’s church room surrounded by colorful walls and tiny tables with little chairs that weren’t big enough to hold my giant wedding dress. This is the room where I prepared to marry my husband. There was a small bathroom attached, and the room was tucked upstairs away from guests and the groom. It was a miserably hot Oklahoma summer day in August, and storms had knocked out the power once already. I wondered if we would be having a service by candlelight (and where we would find enough candles to light the sanctuary where our rain soaked guests sat waiting for our ceremony to begin).

*Click* Like an old Polaroid, I pulled the image from the moment and tucked it deep into my heart.

I did this again and again throughout the evening.

Walking down the blue carpeted steps into the foyer with my bridesmaids in their neon coral dresses behind me – the crooked gold-framed photo hanging on the wall next to me.

My dad squeezing my hand before the door opened, feeling the firmness of his arm wrapped around mine with a different type of strength than I had ever noticed before – The type of strength it takes for a daddy to give his daughter away.

My soon-to-be husband winking at me as we stood before our family and friends… whispering that I looked “really really beautiful.”

Over and over, I processed the moments, pulling them out and tucking them away. And while I might not have a physical photo to remember them by, I have the framed images hanging on the gallery walls of my heart.

I was rocking my nearly two year old little boy the other night at bedtime. His body is too big to comfortably fit in my lap anymore. I think we both know that he would be much happier in his bed, but still we rock. I leaned my nose into his hair and thought of my friend’s words again. They were such a precious gift – one that has lasted a lifetime.

*Click* I never want to forget that moment.

Sometimes, it feels like it is passing by too quickly – childhood I mean. I am only six years into my parenting journey, and I know the truth behind these words. Yet, sometimes, I feel guilty that I’m not enjoying the moments more, that I’m too busy, that I’m not as happy of a mommy as I could be, or I’m not as fun of a mommy as I could be, or I’m too rushed going from one thing to the next taking care of my kids that I don’t really have a chance to enjoy them right there in that space of time.

I wonder how. How am I supposed to be fully in the moment when there are so many full moments that require all of me? Practically, how I keep these moments from passing me by?

I use that old present. I pull out my friend’s words, and replay them over and over again. “It will go by so quickly. All of the hard work and planning will all be over in a matter of minutes. If you don’t make a point to remember it, you will look back, and it will seem like a blur. So, stop. Look around. Take in the sounds, the lights, the way you feel in that moment. Capture it. Process it. And store it forever.
*Click*

Because childhood feels like an eternity, and somehow like just a day.

HopeUnfolding_3d
Hi! I’m Becky, and I am the author of the book Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart! Find out more about it by clicking the image! I’m also the founder of an online community called Scissortail SILK where 100,000 of us meet on social media to encounter Jesus and encourage one another. Won’t you Join us?

 

Comments

  • Rhiannon says:

    I’m in a puddle. My little one is getting to the stage where she wants to go straight in her crib and it makes me sad. I hope in my heart I took enough “pictures”. I hope I was present during every nighttime session of endless rocking. Thank you for the reminder Becky :)

  • Nola says:

    Oh so true!
    I took heart to all the gray haired ladies who would smile at me with my grocery cart full of small children & say to me, “Enjoy it while it lasts, because it will be over before you know it…” and then proceed to tell me of their babies who were older than me & how much they missed it. Luckily I was one who saw that glimmer in their eye & I saw that they truly missed their babies, so I took it to heart.
    There have been and still are days when it seems like time isn’t moving forward, like the day will drag on forever, but I think of that look in those much older mom’s eyes…
    My oldest is 16 now with 3 younger siblings marching steadily towards adulthood right behind her and I find myself repeating those words of wisdom to younger moms at the grocery store. Because maybe, if they hear it enough, they’ll take a moment to enjoy it while it lasts!

  • Alicia Flynn says:

    Posted to my Facebook page as well with the article link:

    This just came up on my newsfeed. We as parents hear it ALL of the time and when we’re are in the throws of toddler tantrums or busy schedules, maybe that’s why we don’t hear it for its pure truth. The truth is, every single parent who says this has experienced a moment when it became their truth. Today, amongst the lengthy effects of food poisoning was my moment. Holding my little, not so little two year old as he screamed in pain; that was my moment. He barely fits in my lap anymore. We are getting ready to convert his bed to a full size because he is so tall. In the moment of screaming, and not fitting on my lap without being curled up in a ball, it hit me like a grand piano falling from the sky on my head. He’s NOT so little anymore, he’s NOT always going to need mama hugs or boo boo kisses, he’s not always going to ask to be rocked in his chair. Wow. So that’s what they mean. My heart hurts a little today as I watch this tiny human grow by leaps and bounds every single day. As I watch him begin to form small sentences and develop amazing athletic abilities. I know that I have a short time before a newborn will once again dominate my time and before I know it, my first born will become even more independent. I’m thankful that he is happy, that he is healthy (except this current battle) and that he is greatly thriving; but I’m sad that my first born is growing so quickly. Thank you for speaking to my heart today Becky. You’ve been a good friend in this parenting journey.

  • Jennifer Hentges says:

    I love this post. I am remewing my wedding vows tomorrow on my ten year anniversary. I will be sure to follow your advice. The last line in this post is so true…how can it feel like an eternity and 1 day all at the same time…somehow, it does.

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you for this! I also remember taking “mind-pictures” before my Grandpa died. I very clearly remember sitting by his bedside, holding his hand. As we sat together, I carefully studied the face of the man whom I had spent so much of my childhood beside. I wanted to remember every curve and line on his face; I wanted to remember the broadness of his forehead, the curve of his cupid’s bowed upper lip, the warm brown color of his eyes. I studied the hands that held me as a baby. I wanted to always remember the shape of his fingernails, the breadth of the palm of his hand, the strength in his fingers.

    I find myself doing the same studying and “picture taking” with my kids that I have done with my Grandparents as they age. These are the moments, the smells, the pictures I will never forget.

  • Inkblots of an Idealist says:

    YES!! This topic of appropriately living in the moment has been a focal topic of ours as of late. If we don’t take the time to take in the sweet lilt of a loved one’s laughter or beauty in nature where time seems to stand still as we bask in God’s handiwork then time can seem to slip away into years of “where the heck did time go?” Thank you for you post, Becky! Take plenty of “pictures” for us and be sure to share them.

  • Samantha says:

    This words ring so true…while my husband and I don’t have kids yet of our own (walking through fertility treatments) I make it a point to enjoy the time we have just the two of us and relish these moments for what they are, not what I wish they would be…for these are the days we will look back and say, “Well back in the day…” :)

  • Tawnya says:

    Just loved this! Thank you!

  • Charisa Kim says:

    I am a stay at home mom of two (3.5yo and 16mos) and the transition to motherhood has been bumpy for me, plus I live halfway across the world away from my home culture with few other foreign moms to talk to. My friend introduced your blog to me last week and I have been so deeply encouraged by your words and honest struggles and joys along your journey of motherhood. Just wanted to say say after reading this entry, in particular, I had that moment. And since then the Father has been helping me see the beautiful in motherhood whereas just even last week I was lost in the weary, hard, accident-filled, out of control, self-condemning, long day after day whirlwind of motherhood. Thank you!

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