It was during one of the many moments of holding you that it happened.
I’ve held you a thousand times, but this time was different. I was holding you tight, your head resting on my shoulder, and you were looking at me—calm, peaceful, but awake. Thinking you were asleep, I had been scrolling on my phone,and just happened to glance at you. Immediately, something struck my heart when I saw your face. I put my phone aside and stared right back at you.
I felt the weight of that priceless moment, and I also felt a twinge of sadness for how easily it almost flew right by me. A twinge of sadness at how easy it is to be distracted. How many moments I’ve already missed because I’m preoccupied with something else, whether it be the show I’m watching, the book I’m reading, or the phone glued to my hand.
Something in my heart shifted, and I wondered how much more magical and rich parenthood could be if I simplified—if I cut out distractions to soak up more of these little moments that are more fleeting than any of us realize.
Because darling, your childhood will zoom past us much faster than we know. While that makes me sad, it also makes me intentional.
I want to be here—really here—for all of this, for being your mom. I want, as Jim Elliot said, to “live to the hilt” this time of parenting you, the marvelous gift of you.
I want to be present for the average day. The day full of endless feedings, diaper changes, naps, chores. The repetitive and monotonous day that may be tiring or boring—but is also sacred. You exist and are here with us, and this day is sacred because you are alive. This day is more than average, because the work we are doing as your parents is more than it appears. The tending to your practical needs is also the molding and shaping of your soul.
I want to be present for the difficult day. The day when I’m crying as much as you are and this all seems like too much; when I’m not sure we can make it one more hour. This day may be exhausting, emotional, chaotic, and draining, but it is also beautiful. This day is more than only difficult, because these hard days strung together with average days and wonderful days all make up one amazing, breathtaking, real life story.
I want to be present for the magical day. The day when we laugh in the sun eating ice cream and you fall asleep on my shoulder and wake up and say “mama”. The day we soak up every bright goodness life has to offer, and feel the pure joy of life’s pleasures, together. This day is more than magical, because it exudes the presence of God and his goodness, and it is kingdom work to enjoy our Father’s gifts.
I want to hold you so tight as I sit in the front row seat and this beautiful thing called our life together plays out before my eyes, no rewinding, fast-forwarding, or pausing. Each moment is so priceless, because once it’s gone? It’s gone for good.
Darling child, my vow to you is to be intentional. With all my strength, I will open my eyes and be present to the moments. With all my strength, I won’t be halfway there. I will be all there.
I know I won’t do this perfectly. I’ll get preoccupied and distracted and forgetful, but I promise you this: I’m going to do the absolute best I can. You deserve a mama who is fully invested and fully present for all of the days—the average ones, the difficult ones, and the magical ones.
Isn’t that what all of life really is? Average, difficult, and magical—all at the same time.