Do you ever feel like your day has flown by? You think over your last 24 hours realizing you didn’t get done everything you need to do? Then a little voice reminds you of all the bigger priorities you have overlooked. You sigh and think “tomorrow”.
Over the years, with health issues, busyness of life and ministry opportunities, I am barely making it through the day sometimes. Let alone, fulfilling all my top priorities and doing what I know God wants me to do. Life just happens and often I am responding to some “emergency”. My kids can be one of the priorities that get put on the “back burner”. Yes, I am feeding them, caring for their daily needs. But my priority as a mom has been to feed their soul and tie their heartstrings to God.
My last months have been filled with doctor appointments, surgery, recovery and “self”. Having cancer again has been a blessing, but also challenging again. I find during this time, my kids can drift into the “abyss” of life. Not only are they worried about me and withdrawing a bit, but their own life weighs heavy on their mind. Starting high school, a new sport, losing a tooth and turning 13 are all “big” moments in my children’s lives in this season.
How do I pull away from the stress of my season of life and focus?
How do I keep my top priorities afloat when all around me is sinking?
As I sit and assess these questions, I realize, while right now is difficult, life has a way of always pulling me away from my top priorities. I have to go back to the basics and think about how I can create “moments” with my kids. I don’t want to just “spend time” with them. I want to “create moments” with them. Here are five ways I make those moments, steal those minutes and build bonding memories daily.
1. Seize the Morning
If you house is anything like mine, everyone is going a different direction in the morning hours. I have children going off to class, a husband leaving for work and others grumpy from a not-so-good sleep. My first inclination is to attend to everyone’s physical needs – food, lunches, carpool, etc. While this all needs to happen, I look for opportunities to love on them first thing – to grab a moment. I climb into bed to gently wake a sleeping giant with hugs and kind words. I hug them while they brush their teeth letting them know I believe in them. I gather them early for a devotion at the breakfast table with a special meal. Or I simply walk them to the car with a prayer and a kiss. Taking time and seizing the morning time sets us on a great course for the day.
2. Snatch the First Impression
My dad had a habit of always smiling and catching his breath when he first would see me. Whether I was coming home from school, getting up in the morning or seeing him for the first time that day, he would always have an incredible ability to make me feel like he had been waiting all day to see me. I felt cherished and loved. I learned as an adult my dad actually trained himself to do this. What I saw as a devoted dad was really my dad making an effort to love me. I can see his face etched in my mind smiling hello to me. These are the pictures I want my kids to see of me. So I learned this lesson from my dad - to pass on love to the next generation just remembering to be so excited to see them.
3. Own the Inconvenient “Minute”
So often my children come to me wanting a minute of my time. “Mommy, look at me!” “Mom, can you come play?’ “Mommy, do you have a minute?” I am busy doing something important on the computer, in the house or on the phone. I miss the inconvenient minute that would become a “moment” in time. Most of the time, my kids only really want a minute of my time, especially the little ones. I can remember a time when my youngest son just wanted me to race a car with him. It took all of two minutes to do what he wanted and then he was on this way. Don’t reject these opportunities to create these little moments with your kids – own the inconvenience!
4. Make Do with What You Have
I always feel like it has to be perfect. Whatever it is. This goes for making moments with my kids too. I have learned during sickness to just grab the opportunity. It may not look like I want it to, but it doesn’t matter. I look at Jesus and some of his most profound moments were just doing daily life – eating, getting water, traveling. Jesus used his opportunities where God put them. In this season of life, I have been in bed a lot. I have just invited my kids to join me there – in my recuperation. Come do school, come read a book and come hang out with me was the message. They don’t need to know it hurts and I have a headache. They will just remember the special time together.
5. Embrace the Nighttime Ritual
I am spent at the end of the day. I just want them to go to bed at 7:00 like they did when they were 3. Anyone else with me? I know this is not what God wants from me. I learned from Sally Clarkson that my kids will open up more at night than they do any other time of the day. While it is easier to send the kids up to bed on their own now, I still take the time to put them to bed. My goal each night is to have a “moment” with at least one of the kids. I massage and tickle backs. I crawl into beds and talk. I sing and pray with them. They ask questions and they tell me about their day and their dreams. At this very challenging time of day for me, God blesses me with “moments” we will both remember. So I encourage you to embrace the nighttime ritual as you seek to create time with your kids.
While I know I cannot do any – or all – of these things on my own accord, it is only through God’s strength and listening to the Holy Spirit that I can create “life-sustaining” moments with my kids. I am too selfish, but God gives me the super-natural ability to be His hands, His feet and His hug to my kids. In the midst of the hard times, I can rest in Him knowing He really does have it all under control.
How do you build “moments” with your kids into your life?