Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday Suggestion: Make the Most of Moments With Your Kids

My Saturday suggestion this week probably seems like a bit of a "no-brainer." Most parents already understand the importance - and the joy - of spending time with their kids. I have been lucky enough to do a little of that with both of mine lately, so I've been thinking a lot about this topic.

Family time in Arizona
We had some quality family time when we met up with my daughter in Arizona for Thanksgiving. 

Parenting kids is a bit of an endurance test. 

Even when everything is running smoothly, a lot of energy is required to be a mom or dad. The job is
24/7 and, especially in the early years, kids require hands-on attention nearly round the clock. It is not uncommon for a mom or dad to wish for a little bit of peace and a few minutes to themselves.

The years spent raising children don't last forever, though. 

In fact, they go by really, really quickly. Parents of nearly silent teenagers suddenly find themselves nostalgic for the chatty elementary school kid who would talk for a full ten minutes describing the plot of a cartoon. Many parents actually miss the seemingly endless duties of driving kids to school, practices and games, once driver's licenses are obtained and that opportunity to interact no longer exists. After kids move out, empty bedrooms can cause us to ponder whether the years of living together as a family were well spent and appreciated enough.

There is no going back. 

While we may mourn the loss of little pairs of shoes by the front door and voices that used to be octaves higher, as kids outgrow each childhood stage, parents can embrace and enjoy the older versions of the person they are becoming. The time we get to spend with our kids does diminish as they grow up, but there are still many opportunities and ways for families to connect.

I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with both my kids this month.

An opportunity to spend time with our daughter 

Our daughter's college swim meet was in Spokane a few weekends ago. Since Spokane is only about five hours away, my husband and I decided we would attend the meet. It was quite a bit of driving, however (on snowy roads) for very little time with my daughter - only an hour of visiting on Friday night, breakfast together on Saturday and a few minutes following the meet.

swim meet
My husband and I surprised my daughter by attending one of her swim meets in Washington in January.
Despite the brevity of our visit, the smile on my daughter's face when she saw that we brought the dog, the opportunity to watch her swim, and the hugs we shared were completely worth the trip!

We took our dog with us when we went to watch our daughter's swim meet in Spokane

Five days of traveling with my son

I spent the better part of last week traveling with my son. We visited several colleges to which he has been accepted, and did some exploring of several cities together. I felt a little guilty that my husband couldn't join us, as all the hours on planes, a bus, cars and on foot provided me with a lot of enjoyable one-on-one time with our son.

on an airplane
I insisted on taking a photo of us on the last flight home.
By the time we got home, my son was probably ready to spend time with friends instead of just his mom! Knowing that he will be going away to school next year, however, the trip was much too short for me.

They will be grown-up before you know it!

Whenever I see parents of young children, I feel a need to warn them about how quickly their little ones will grow up. Parents cannot (and shouldn't) spend every moment with their kids, but I think it is important to treasure the times when we can and make the most of each one of them.

What is the thing you miss most about your own childhood or your children when they were younger?

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  1. At least once a week I find myself biting back a "oh, enjoy this time. It's zips by so very fast" to some complete stranger wrestling with their youngsters. It does fly by, doesn't it? How on earth is it possible that my daughter is finishing 4th year this April? What do I miss about the days when my two were younger? Knowing their pals. Now I mostly know only their names.

    1. When I was a young adult, I could never understand the interest my parents took in hearing about my friends that they had never met. But yes, now I really get it!

  2. So glad you got to spend that time with your kids, and how fun to have so much one on one time with your son. I'm excited to see where he decides to go to college!

    1. It was fun. It won't be long, and both of our youngest kids will know where they will be next year!

  3. I miss Sunday morning breakfast and the days when I would sneak my daughter to work (delivering the mail) on Saturday and spend the whole day with her. I miss when my were little, but I'm also really enjoying who they are now...and let's face it grandkids are so much more fun haha!

    1. I bet your daughter misses those days as well, Rena ... and is really glad of all the attention you give your grandkids!

  4. Your daughter will always remember you showing up to her swim meets and your son will remember the college trip. I think it's great that you're taking advantage of those times. Great memories for all you!

    1. These times with our kids do create good memories, Marie - and I know you feel the same.

  5. We just got back from a magical trip to Disney World with our kids and grandkids. I was keenly aware of the importance of enjoying every moment and saddened by the number of parents who didn't, including the mom I overheard at the pool telling her 7ish year old daughter that she has a particular talent for ruining every day. Yikes!

    1. What a special treat that you could experience Disney World with your kids AND grandkids! And what a horrible thing you overheard said to a 7 year old. UGH.


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