Tuesday, 15 July 2014


About 6 weeks after my first daughter was born my husband and I took her on her first outing to the grocery store. This was mostly because I'd had a c-section and desperately needed to get out of the house. As we were walking through the store an elderly woman stopped us to admire the baby. I'll never forget, all these years later, what she said to us. "Cherish every moment. The next thing you know you'll be sending her off to college." We laughed and went on our way.

When that same daughter was seven years old, she started piano lessons with a lovely older woman from our church. That woman became something of a mentor to me, in a rather unintentional way. However, she continually reminded me that were no "do-overs" in parenting. Looking back, I never took that to mean there is no grace. Kids are very forgiving, so don't take this to mean if you make a single mistake, you've blown it forever. No, what it means is this: each day is a gift that you can't get back. 

These two seemingly small pieces of advice, plus countless books and of course, a parenting course or two which helped me see my role from a biblical perspective, shaped the way I raised my girls over the years. There are so many things I want to remind you of, dear daughter.

When  the baby wakes you at 2am for another feeding and you are the only one who can do it because you are committed to nursing that newborn, try so hard not to resent getting up in the middle of the night with that little one yet again, even though you thought you had her sleeping through the night two weeks ago. Cherish that alone time with her. Kiss her little head while she nurses, sing lullabies to her, (she doesn't care if you can't sing!), rock her and pray over her. You will cherish those moments, I promise you will!

When you are trying to potty train your toddler and it seems like no matter what you do, he'll end up going to kindergarten in diapers, try not to get exasperated with him. Sit with him and read him a book, let him have that M&M for going in the potty, or at least for trying. Let him pick out the Superman underwear, even though the reward of wearing them seems eons away. You will cherish those moments someday, or at least they'll give you something to look back on and laugh about together.

When you are so sick of stepping on the stray Lego in the middle of the night, finding a Barbie shoe under the couch when you're cleaning, when your daughter spills purple paint all over the brand new carpet (oh, yes, she did!) try not to lose your cool. Try to remember that someday there won't be toys in your home, except maybe the electronic kind. Try to remember that someday there won't be paint to spill because there won't be kids around to paint you pictures you can't recognize, but you love them anyway. And cherish the moment that you pick up the Lego (after you recover from the pain of thinking someone is surely trying to kill you!).

Today I rode my bike by the community pool. While it's not the same pool where I spent countless hours with my girls, I wished for those days back. Frantically packing up sunscreen, beach towels, combs and ponytail holders for long hair, snacks, water bottles. Where's the right flip-flop? I can only find the left one. And the swim diapers for the baby and, when they were a little bit older, a book for myself. Reprimanding them to stay behind the black line painted on the bottom of the pool because that was the "deep end." Clapping when they went off the diving board for the first time, catching them at the bottom of the slide. And I miss those days so much it makes me cry. I mean really, really cry!

My girls are 23, 20 and 18 now. The oldest is married! Married!! When I think back to the days lying out at the community pool, I can hardly believe that little daredevil who scared everyone with her tree-climbing ways is a wife now.  And the one who I had so much trouble potty-training is in college with an amazing future ahead of her. And the one who had so much trouble learning to read sings like an angel and is getting ready to go off to the far ends of the earth to learn to be a worship leader.

Cherish each moment, dear daughter. Don't despise a single season of parenting. They really will be in college before you know it. And it's true, there are no "do-overs" in parenting.


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