Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Seize the Moment

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On a beautiful chilly fall morning a couple of weeks ago, the kids and I decided to head out for a little hike in our woods. Some of them had been working on a fort they wanted to show me and I wanted to take some pictures of them that sunny fall morning.  I grabbed my camera and headed out the door.

As we walked down the driveway and up through the little side yard on our way to the woods, we trudged past the colorful play toy that sat abandoned near the beginning of our targeted trail.

I suddenly felt a profound sadness as I followed the kids beyond the big yard toy. They didn't even slow their steps as they scurried past it. Excited chatter and laughter peppered the silence of the morning. The now abandoned, colorful, big toy, had been the source of such excitement and joy for the kids for many years.  Hour by hour they played outside, climbing on it, washing it with buckets of soapy water and the garden hose, playing house, hospital, hide and seek, practicing their sliding skills, perfecting their climbing skills, and performing skits with it as their stage/backdrop  It played a leading role in their backyard childhood play time and now they hurriedly moved past it as though it wasn't even there.

I suddenly found myself going back in time to memories of them in their pre-school years. With chubby little legs and rosy cheeks, running through the yard, their blond hair blowing in the wind as they played, and faded memories of their sweet little voices filling the air. Their shrieks of laughter, games of hide and seek, excited little voices as they found a dead bird and prepared a funeral for it all came to mind as we walked past that toy. I suddenly thought "where did the time go?" How did it slip by so quickly?

I am grateful I enjoyed those days and cherished them. I knew they would fly by quickly, but even though I have raised two children into adulthood already, I still wasn't prepared for just how fast it would go with these younger kids.  It seemed like I barely blinked an eye and my oldest daughters were out of the house, married and eight grandchildren appeared on the scene. Somehow it seems like their younger siblings have grown up even faster.

We now have two teen agers (again), and one just a few months away from becoming a teen. Our two little guys are turning seven and nine years old in the next couple of months.

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Seize the moment.

This is the thought that keeps coming to mind. I need to seize the moment every day. Enjoy these blessings. Embrace them and take the time to listen, snuggle, hug, read to them, listen to their dreams, help them set goals, and most of all enjoy mornings when we get together to read God's Word, pray and talk about the important things.

Somehow, when I view things in light of how quickly they grow up my perspective changes.The fighting between two brothers that irritated me earlier in the day, ceases to be an irritant, but rather an opportunity to guide them while I can. The attitudes that arise from my teenagers, are not really intended to irritate me, but again, an opportunity for me to check in with them. REALLY check in with them and listen, ask questions, show interest in what bothers them and frustrates them so I can prayerfully guide them while I still can.

Seize the moment, parents.

Don't let it go by unnoticed.

All those little moments add up into years and they are gone before you know it.

The baton has been passed on to our precious grandchildren now.

The big, colorful back yard toy is now serving as a place for our children's children to hone their climbing skills, play house and whatever other uses their little imaginations might come up with. They love playing at Nama and Papa's house and the big, colorful toy will be a part of their childhood memories just as it has played a big role in the memories of their aunties and uncles and parents.

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