Motherhood is marked by big things. We witness our children taking courageous steps, hard falls, and triumphant leaps through our journey in parenting them. There are big things we often celebrate, commiserate, and reflect upon as they grow.
Ask any mom about the big moments and she will gladly share the stories that light up her eyes and bring out that smile, or perhaps she will well up in tears at the miraculous twists and turns that brought her child through great suffering and pain. Maybe she would declare the highlights of first steps, first words, or hilarious stories that still make her laugh so hard she cries. My favorite big things are a mix of them all.
So many accounts of new stages and endured phases we can relive for the rest of our lives. There will be more to come. The big things are always big enough to remember. Memories fade through the years, and I think back on many years of motherhood with a blurry frame of mind and fainted treasures of time I no longer remember. Thank God I remember the big things. I’m just grateful I wrote my kids letters throughout those early years, to reflect back in time and find the little things I may have forgotten.
It’s those little things I want to tuck away in my memory most. Lately, I’ve realized that those little things are even more valuable than the big things. I would hate to look back on these profound parenting years and only see the big things.
I want to remember how every night my boy tells me he can’t go to sleep without my hugs and kisses and bedtime snuggles. “Mom, I need you to love on me, or I can’t go to sleep.” I want to remember how my daughter stopped in the middle of our chaotic morning rush to thank me for doing everything. Her hair braided, breakfast made, and lunch packed- she walked over to me and opened her arms, pulling me in and nuzzling her head on my neck. “Thank you so much mom, for doing everything.”
I want to remember how before every swim meet, my girl asks if I have a good feeling about this one. Always nervous, worried she won’t do well- she reaches for my affirmation and encouragement, as though I can envision the outcome. She believes me and trusts my prediction.“Mom, do you have a good feeling about this meet? Do you think I’ll do good?” “Oh, yes honey. I have a REALLY good feeling about this one.”
I want to remember the birthday songs my kids and I created, full of hilarious lyrics and pretty sweet harmonies too. I want to remember how my son never lets me forget to pray in the morning on the way to school, and either does my daughter. I want to remember all of those sweet moments that fill our everyday lives, the ones that fill me with a sense of awe and amazement and joy. The little things may go by in the whirl of the race in the mornings or in the late-night push for bed. I don’t want to miss them, lose them, or forget them. I know I’ve allowed too many to slip by already. What a shame.
From now on, I will try harder to capture those tiny moments that catch my breath and grasp them tightly in the palm of my hurried hands. The minutiae of days gone by, caring and raising these children is where the true meat of the meal is, if you think about it.
When I look back one day on the blurry hazy years of parenting my kids when I am old and my kids are grown, when they ask about the details instead of the highlights…
I want to be able to dive in and declare all the little things that truly made raising them my greatest joy. I hope I can be able to recount the small moments that offer more than the big trials and triumphs in their lives. Instead, I’ll reveal an intimate view of the hidden treasures buried deep beneath the obvious and accessible landscape of all the big things.
And each time we go down memory lane, I’ll tell them, “It’s really the little things that you want to treasure when you have kids. Don’t forget the little things.”
*This piece was originally published over on MomBabble.com.