“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6 (NIV)
At the beginning of the summer, I had the privilege of taking all three kids grocery shopping with me. I say privilege because they are at the age where they don’t have to come. Well, the youngest is still too little to stay home alone; but he is quite able to stay home under his siblings’ supervision. The fact they chose to go to the store with me wasn’t lost on me. I enjoy spending time with them and I realize all too soon their schedules won’t allow the privilege of spending this type of uninterrupted, take for granted time much longer. They have band camp, volleyball camp, church camp, summer jobs, etc. which have us all running in different directions.
However, that particular day, we started talking to a mother of a little one. He was old enough to flirt when we waved, but young enough that he still needed to be held or buckled into the cart. I was telling her how much I love the stage my own kids were in, but how much I truly missed the stage she was experiencing. We shared about how we “borrow” a child from time to time to still get to experience that stage occasionally. Then, I wanted to make sure she didn’t think I was stalking her child, so I explained we also worked in our church’s nursery as a family, and her response was, “I didn’t think you were weird. I was kind of wondering how I could get you to “borrow” him once in a while” (gesturing to her child in the cart).
I was reading a blog post from another friend whose children are similar in age in ours. She was talking about the advantages of having children old enough to clean (for real) and children who don’t need to constantly be entertained. We are definitely in that stage now. Our kids rewrote the chore chart at the beginning of the summer, compromising on the jobs they don’t like with ones they tolerate and it’s gone quite smoothly. I promised I wouldn’t nag as long as the jobs were completed when they needed to be and I could live in a relatively neat house.
I don’t know what certain activities and traditions look like in your house, but I want to encourage you to treasure the time you have with your kids now. I’m definitely not needed as much “hands on” now as I was. I admit – I miss it. I miss rocking my kids for their twice daily naps, I miss the excitement of playing at the park for the afternoon. I miss reading books snuggled on the couch. And I realize that in a few years, I will miss the loud music, the “Can I show you this video? It’s hilarious!” “Can we go to the store for an Icee? I’ll pay.”
I don’t want to hurry these days along. I don’t want to live with any regrets of not taking the time to enjoy these moments – whether they are simple moments like sharing a shopping trip or bigger moments like hiking, day trips to the zoo or movie marathons. Family is so important. Childhood memories are priceless. I am blessed to have a husband who realizes the importance of making memories with our kids so that they will always remember how much they are loved by us… and hopefully it will lead them to seeing how much more their Heavenly Father desires a relationship with them as well.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017