Don’t take the moments for granted that don’t define you

I took this picture on a family vacation:

Our son, Colton, made that footprint in the sand. (Isn’t it adorable?!)

I was looking back through the pictures from that trip recently and for some reason I stopped on this one.

I stared at it and thought – he is never going to make that footprint again. He’s never going to be in that exact spot, the size he is, the age he is…again.

That moment is gone. 

He’s growing up fast. And so is our daughter, Kaylee.

Time is marching on.

The moments are coming and going…quickly.

And it’s freaking me out!

All of these sayings are running through my head:

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment. 

Don’t take these moments for granted. 

Well, I didn’t stop and savor the footprint moment. And now it’s gone!

But maybe all is not lost! Because there’s also these expressions:

Don’t get caught up in the moment. 

A single moment doesn’t define you. 

Well, which is it?!

Don’t take the moments for granted that don’t define you? Or something. I guess. I don’t know.

What I do know, though, is that parents tend to stress about the idea of moments…holding on to them…creating them…way too much. At least I do.

Is being present in the moment and enjoying them with our kids important? Yes.

Is a single moment the end all, be all of our relationships with our children? No.

Then why do we work so hard…why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to create perfect moments with our kids?

I think deep down we worry that 20 years from now our kids won’t talk to us, won’t like us, or won’t have any fond memories of us. I think we compare ourselves to other parents too much. And we try to create better moments for our kids than little Johnny’s parents do for him. And I think we try too hard to give our kids a better childhood than we had.

So, for whatever reason, we try to manufacture these epic moments.

My family likes to play this game called “Remember the time.”

It goes like this:

Remember the time Mommy sat on my ice cream?

Remember the time Daddy was swatting a fly at dinner and knocked over his Dr. Pepper?

Remember the time (name deleted to protect the innocent) was talking away and walked right into a trash can on the street?

All true stories!

We love that game. And the kids laugh at it…hysterically.

Funny thing about those moments…they’re the moments our kids love the most and not one of them was planned. They all just happened.

That doesn’t mean planning is a bad thing…that just means the pressure is off! We don’t have to work so hard. Yes!

You know, in this moment, in the next moment…whether they are in second grade or have a second grader of their own…I’m still Kaylee and Colton’s Dad.

I don’t want to take that for granted. My place in their lives is far more important than any single moment.

When I think about that, I don’t get so freaked out about moments leaving so quickly.

Remember, it’s just a play date. It’s just a birthday party. It’s just a trip to the beach.

Kids don’t want moments. They want a hand to hold. Someone to high five. A shoulder to cry on. A familiar face in the stands. They want you.

Your relationship is the reason moments are special. Not the other way around.

Moments will come and go, but your title…your role as their parent…that will never go away.

So, don’t take the moments for granted that don’t define you.

Just be.

Just be mom.

Just be dad.

Just be you.

The rest will take care of itself.

Stephen

I'd like to hear from you! Do you ever try to hard to create the perfect moment with your kids? Do you ever freak out because you missed enjoying a moment? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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