Tuesday, July 16

What parents need to remember

Children are a gift from the Lord.  Being a parent is an incredible privilege.  Having a family is a remarkable blessing. We know these truths, right?

What a mother needs to remember

Why, then, are we tired and discouraged so much?  Why do we have to scrape ourselves off the floor, take our vitamins, drink lots of water, and sometimes seek respite in the bathroom with a magazine?

Because being a parent is hard work.

There's a lot of parenting advice available, and much of centers around an ancient Latin phrase that entered contemporary consciousness on the heels of the Academy award-winning film Dead Poet Society.  The phrase is carpe diem, and we usually understand it to mean "seize the day."  In other words, take advantage of the moment.  Make the most of each day.  Grab every opportunity available.  And be sure to savor each moment while you're at it.

But deep in your heart, you know that some moments aren't worth savoring.  Some days you can't seize; sometimes you only survive.

So I'd like to suggest a different Latin phrase as a guiding light for parents.  Forget carpe diem, but remember: tempus fugit.

Tempus fugit.  Time flies.

Sounds corny, doesn't it?  I used to think so.  Then one day I was talking with an older, wiser man, who happened to be an accounting professor.  As we discussed the fact that time seemed to go faster as we age, he offered an explanation for that phenomenon.  He explained that as we get older, our total lives consist of more and more days.  With every day that passes, each day is a smaller percentage of the total.

I think he was really on to something there.

You know how four-year-olds feel that it takes forever to get from Thanksgiving to Christmas?  It's because one month is a huge chunk of time from their perspective.  That one month is a large percentage of their total lives, so time seems to limp along.  As they get older, the month becomes a smaller and smaller fraction of the totality of their lives, so time seems to move faster.

I'm about to turn 50 years old, and I'm here to tell you:  time flies.

Why does that matter?  Why should parents care?

Yes, it's true: parents need to know that time with their precious children is limited, and that each age and stage is to be cherished.

Sure, when your little one crawls into your lap and asks you to read a story, you cherish the moment.

When your three-year-old dances around the Christmas tree, you cherish the moment.

When your five-year-old stars in the end-of-school play, you cherish the moment.

When your third grader wonders how to help a friend who's feeling down, you cherish the moment.

But tempus fugit.  Time flies.  And your little ones become big ones awfully fast.

Honestly, though, some days don't consist of beautiful moments at all.

So what about the time when your infant spits up all over you several times a day and won't sleep at night?  When you're so sleep-deprived that you can't see straight?

What about the time when all your children have a stomach virus at the same time?  When you wish you had two washers and two dryers just to keep up with number of dirty sheets?

What about the time when your precious angel turns into a demon on the playground and you get called to the principal's office?  When you feel the burden of molding his character crushing your shoulders?

What about the time when your toddler tries to flush your bottle of perfume down the toilet or your two-year-old floods the bathroom or your three-year-old swallows a bunch of medication and has to be rushed to the hospital?  What about the time when your four-year-old has pneumonia or your five-year-old gets second-degree burns or your eight-year-old has a bloody scooter accident?  What about the time when  your ten-year-old has appendicitis or your fourteen-year-old has open-heart surgery or your nineteen year old has emergency surgery the week of Thanksgiving?

What about those times?  Do you seize those days?  Do you cherish those moments?

I don't think so.  In those moments, you just do your best.  Some days you hang on by the skin of your teeth.  Some days you don't hang on at all; instead, you let go and crash to the floor.

But time still flies.  Even the worst days come to an end.

And before you know it, your precious-awful-wonderful-terrible-delightful-maddening children will be all. grown. up.

Ask me how I know.

If I'm honest, I'll admit that some moments I cherished only after they were long in the past.

From where I'm standing now, I can give this one little nugget of parenting advice:  forget about seizing every day.  Let go of the burden to be the perfect parent.  God always knew you weren't perfect, even before He gave you a child.  But that's okay.  He's perfect, and there's nothing that can happen in your parenting journey that His grace won't cover.

Carpe diem?  Not so much.  But tempus fugit?  Yes, it does.  You can count on it.

**Joining Amanda at Serenity Now for Weekend Bloggy Reading and

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  1. Your post has certainly got me thinking...

  2. What a wise, beautiful post. we seem to be at similar stages with our kids...and yes. It's almost stunning how quickly time flies.

  3. So very true, Richella! I look at my 13 year-old who is as tall as me now and wonder where all the time went. Wasn't he 7 just yesterday? He's going into high school this year...didn't he just finish kindergarten? I'm learning to let some of the small stuff go so that I can enjoy more of him.

  4. Oh so true! We were just talking about this yesterday at work! I look at my 6 year old & soon-to-be 3 year old & I'm already asking myself "Where has the time gone?"

    There are so many days when I feel like I am in "survival mode." Unfortunately, those days seem to out number the "cherish the moment" days. I wish it were the other way around!

    Thank you for this sweet reminder today Richella! I know that regardless, my days with my "little" boys are numbered. I definitely need to focus more on "cherishing the moments!"

  5. Oh you just made me cry... I have two wonderful boys, 20 and 11. I thank God everyday for letting me be their mother. Time does fly by..

  6. Oh I understand this so much.
    My oldest is about to enter 8th grade, next year a freshman.
    My youngest is entering kindergarten.
    Today, my youngest didn't want to go to VBS because she misses me.
    I didn't make her go and felt guilty.
    Now I don't.
    Somedays they need to be with us comforted by knowing we are just in the other room.
    I used to get frustrated with this when it would happen with my oldest but not anymore because I see it flying away.
    And I am running, chasing time and hanging on for dear life.
    On a side note, you look amazing for 50.
    I have seven more years and I only hope I look half as good.

  7. Hey There, Good words may we all learn and grow as turning 57 myself this fall, time does fly by. But I have noticed that my days seem sweeter and more precious. I send my heart to you as we both grow and live and cherish some days and only survive a few of them. Have a wonderful week.
    Blessings, Roxy

  8. As the mom of a new high school graduate, my youngest, who is off to join his big brother at college next month, your message of "Tempus Fugit" comes at a fitting time for me. I'm in the mode of 'trying not to think about it' so much, because if I do I'll fall to pieces. It's all part of life, I know, and although there is that large piece of me that relishes in watching these phases as my boys become men, there is a deep rooted part of me that quite simply wants to rewind the clock. And I'm sure that's just called: 'being a mom'. ;) My mom always said to cherish these times---I know that for the most part, I did, but gosh, she was right. Tempus Fugit.

  9. This is so true. Thank you for the reminder and the lovely pictures!

  10. It's so true. I've often thought the same thing. We are truly rich when we remember to cherish every moment we can.

  11. Everything you said is so true. Even when the heartbreak of them turning to a less than favorable lifestyle continues, I have learned throughout the years that continuing to show love to them is the only way, no matter what they have put you through, no matter how sour the attitude. My son is 34 and I am learning daily this is the ONLY way...grace, all the way!

  12. Wisdom and honesty, two of the things I love about you. Thank you for writing this beautiful, needful post. I am SO in this place right now.

  13. What a great and inspiring post...I love your perspective and think you've really captured parenting. Oh yes, how time does fly!

  14. Exactly! I have always been a seize the moment kind of girl. I will stop and enjoy my kids, occasionally trying to squeeze a little too hard to stop the growing. ;) Great post....thanks! Lisa~

  15. What a wonderful....wonderful....wonderful post! Your words leapt off the page into my heart. Thank you so much for sharing your heart!

    Happy day to you sweet friend!

  16. This is absolutely wonderful and so needed for me right now! Thank you for your beautiful wonderful words!

  17. So beautiful and true, Richella. Thank you for this - I needed to hear it. Can I look like you when I'm almost 50??! xo

  18. This is such a precious post and so true. Before you know it your children are your age, and you try to figure out how they got so old, since you didn't. lol Gorgeous picture of you and your son. You look amazing for 50. wow. Hugs, Marty

  19. Tears welling up here. Great thought Richella!

  20. Oh gracious! I identify with every sing word! Not only that, but I also have a towering, handsome red head that is making time fly!

    Thanks for the great post.

  21. Nothing that His grace won't cover- amen! Thank you for these beautiful words.

  22. Oh boy. I so get this. So much. I'm enjoying this summer with all three girls here at home because I know they will be over so quickly.

    Thanks for writing this.

  23. I needed to hear this today. My 22 year old said something tonight that made me want to wash his mouth out with soap.

    I keep praying that God will change his heart.


  24. Beautiful post and I agree, time flies waaaaaay to fast. My oldest (24) graduated from college last year and he is getting married in a couple of months. Wasn't he just born yesterday?

    Yes, it's o.k. to not love and cherish every moment. It's o.k. to be relieved when certain "seasons" are over! ;)

  25. Beautiful post, Richella. I can identify with so much of it....wanting to cherish some moments and wanting to get as much distance as possible between others. You said it all with such wisdom and grace. Thank you. What an interesting perspective from the accountant on the explanation of time flying by quickly. I'd be honored if you linked this up to our new All Things Thursday Blog Hop that is going on now. Have a wonderful weekend.

  26. What a beautiful post and incredibly TRUE! Time flies and our children are gifts from God to take care of for just a little while.

    My daughters are adults now and the adjustment to the Empty Nest was the reason I started my blog in the first place.

    I recently wrote a post abut Balancing Motherhood, to remind Moms never to lose themselves, which can be very easy to do while raising children!
    If you have time I would be honored if you read it.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and beautiful pictures!

  27. Yes, indeed having a family is a remarkable blessing. Very impressive highlight which parents must read.

  28. Thank you for this post. I'm a 32 yr old mom of three five and under and most days are a struggle to keep my head above, but by His grace I am. Usually from moms in your vantage point, I hear the guilt laden, "enjoy every moment" line and that frankly feels discouraging and only reminds me of how much um not living up to that. Thank you for releasing women from that "perfection" and encouraging us to yes, cherish the moments we can, but rest in His grace through the rest. So refreshing for you.to share this! Just stumbled upon your blog because of your roman shade tutorial,ha! Glad I poked around a bit:)


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