Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

“Our lives are made

In these small hours

These little wonders

These twists and turns of fate

Time falls away,

But these small hours

These small hours still remain…”

– Rob Thomas, “Little Wonders”

“Good song,” said my husband, reaching over the van console to turn up the stereo. We were driving home to Nebraska from Florida with three of our five kids–the littlest having flown both ways with the grandparents and the biggest having earned a trip back on Delta by simply surviving being the much older sibling and cousin surrounded by a crew of little boys–and trying to stay awake in the midst of the 26-hour “we’re just gonna push straight through” trip by playing D.J with my phone.

Brad leaned back to listen while my mind swirled. 

“Let it go

Let it roll right off your shoulder

Don’t you know

The hardest part is over…”

I have a complicated relationship with that song. After my mom collapsed in April 2012, it would inevitably pop up on my iTunes “shuffle” as I drove back and forth on the Interstate from her hospice room in Omaha, and when she died a year later at 58, I listened to “The hardest part is over” again, and again, and again. The “All of my regret will wash away somehow, but I cannot forget the way I feel right now” line became a metaphor for her death, that moment when she took her last breath and not one other thing mattered—not the mistakes, not the wishing you could have done something different, not the “Whys?”—beyond that very moment, the “small hours” of which I remember little other than that fate worked it out in such a way that both my mom and I were surrounded by our closest friends in that instant.

But after a few months I started to avoid it and the feelings it dredged up. Eventually, unless Brad was with me and insisted on hearing it, I’d hit skip. 

Something flipped, though, during that drive, in the dark with a crew of little kids cashed out in their seats, returning from a beach vacation tanned and tired, and in the weeks since, as I’ve again listened to it on repeat while training for a fall marathon.

Instead of it being a metaphor for my mom’s death, it’s become a metaphor for life. 

All the stuff that matters—really matters—is ridiculously minute. And the moments we remember are typically tiny and unplanned. We’re try to be so ambitious with our careers and money and big vacations and nights out and parties and gifts, while the stuff that sticks—the stuff that’ll be left when everything else washes away—is usually free (or at least cheap) and over in a blink. 

My kids have been to both oceans and Disneyland in the last two years. Their most talked about memory in that same time period? Eating Chinese food in the living room and watching “Frozen” on a Friday night after it came out on DVD.

Brad and I have had dates, for birthdays and anniversaries. They all pale in comparison to moments like last week, where we found ourselves alone in the living room, the house relatively quiet, having an uninterrupted conversation. 

Ever catch yourself intently “seeing” your kids sleep or smile? It’s so fleeting, it almost hurts your head to think about. It’s like trying to contemplate space (Look out the window while you’re riding in a car and think hard about that. Ouch.).

That is life. Seconds of time that are super cool intersected by a whole lot of stuff that doesn’t mean much. It’s insane. But it’s real. And it’s easy to wrestle so long and so hard with the things we’re not doing right or better or more of and totally miss it. 

On Friday, I watched my husband and oldest daughter have an impromptu dive contest off of a friend’s dock. After weeks of talking about this July 4 weekend and the fireworks (AKA, money) we were going to blow up and the food we were going to eat and the places we were going to go, I snapped a photo and thought, “This is what she’s going to remember about this Fourth of July.” Maybe 15 minutes out of 72 hours. In 20 years, that little snippet will be a huge deal. 

Before I know it, I’ll be looking at my Facebook “memories” and I’ll realize that a year has passed and another 4th is upon us and I’ll see the picture of my husband flipping into the lake while Keaton watches. And if I’ve learned anything, I’ll have focused less on our worries and dramas during the preceding 365 days and more on what’s truly left when our time is up.

“Time falls away

But these small hours,

These small hours still remain….”


So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Jessica Rettig

Jessica Rettig lives, works and, after years of being told to do so (she has a sneaking suspicion it was to make other parents feel better about their own chaos), documents daily life (at with her husband, Brad, five kids—Keaton Amelia (11), Hutton (6), Rustyn (5), Joey Michele (2) and the baby, Roosevelt-- and emotionally-challenged Weimaraner in Lincoln, Nebraska. She also tries to run away on a daily basis--usually four or five miles--but she always comes back.

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading