The children were all piling into the car. It was hot. After a rain, the sun was baking all the moisture out of the ground and David was struggling to get the pram back into the van. Easter baskets full of junk and choke-able toys were littering the entire inside of a van that two of my children had just worked hard to clean. Everyone was starving for lunch. And I held the baby as I walked toward the door of the van to buckle her in.
But I stopped five feet from my intended destination. Little Verity had molded into my body and was gently blowing raspberries on my neck. Cooing and humming, she was hugging me so tightly. One by one, the older children emerged from the van to witness the spectacle of sweetness. As I cradled her little head in my hands and hugged her right back, David walked up to see what all the “oooo-ing and awwwww-ing” was about.
“We’re not going anywhere, are we?”
He knew…when a moment like this happens, I will milk it for every second I can. Hot and sweaty, I was sunburnt from three hours outside. Desperately wanting lunch because I had been too busy getting everyone ready that morning to eat any breakfast, I overcame the hunger to remember quickly…these moments don’t last forever.
I know I have preached on bedtimes and tucking them in. I have reminded you time and again how quickly childhood flies by and you find yourself looking at an adult instead of a toddler. But let me say it again…
Love is spelled T-I-M-E.
Lots of parents say the ridiculous buzzwords “quality time” to me when they are trying to justify large amounts of time spent apart as a family…all members running 47 different directions with the intention of doing everything every member of the family wants to do. But here’s a newsflash folks…quality time doesn’t happen when YOU want it to. It happens when you have copious amounts of QUANTITY TIME together. Quality time– those precious moments that overtake you and fill your child’s cup with a smidgen of understanding about how much you love them happen when you least expect it. You can’t engineer that with two hours at Chuck E. Cheese’s. You can’t manufacture those memories with an hour at the park. These moments can’t be pushed on a relationship. They are the natural phenomenon of spending your life really WITH someone.
So slow down.
Keep your eyes and hearts open for those tender moments that can surprise you and build your relationship with your child into a priceless edifice of Christ’s love.
Enjoy every single second of each sweet hug, adorable question or comment, or snuggle before naptime. Don’t be in such a rush to move onto the next event on your agenda that you miss the biggest way you can give and receive love to your child…be they tiny or full grown!
That extra five minutes spent in the parking lot will never be remembered by baby Verity. But the way I loved on her will most certainly be remembered by my oldest 10 children who watched their momma melt and enjoy the precious memory of cuddling while a baby kissed on her.