A Target for Life

A Target for Life

I reached into her pajamas drawer unconsciously grabbing the worn polka-dotted flannel that felt like home in my hand.

“Those don’t fit me anymore, Mama,” my 6-year-old daughter informed ever so gently, as if somehow knowing those words could literally break my heart.

“Are you sure they don’t fit?” I asked with a hint of desperation in my voice. “Could we just see?” I already had the head opening of the pajamas prepped and ready for her curly head of hair.

My easy-going child shrugged and happily pulled the pajamas over her head to appease me. But as she struggled to stuff her 6-year-old arms into size 4 armholes, we began to laugh.

“Okay, you were right, “I grinned. But honestly, I wanted to cry.

“I know you love my panda ‘jams, Mama,” my child consoled. Oh yes. That little girl has always been an observant one. “But instead of putting them back in my drawer, maybe you could keep them in a safe place.”

It was my daughter’s nice way of telling me to stop putting them back in her drawer. And as much as I hated to admit it, she was right; it was time to retire the panda pajamas. But I certainly wouldn’t be stuffing them into a donation bag with other outgrown clothes.  You see, the panda was my target when I really, really needed a target. It was my target for letting to go to live. It was my target for a Hands Free life.

My daughter was wearing these pajamas the first time I turned away from breakfast making, school permission slip signing, and phone ringing to hold her. Just hold her. That morning, I saw clearly that those “things” don’t really matter when it’s 6:41 a.m. and your child comes downstairs with bedhead and sleepy eyes wanting to be held.

And so every morning after that, when I spotted the panda coming down the stairs, I saw my target—my target for focusing on my beautiful child, if only for a few loving minutes each morning.

A Target for Life #handsfreemama

My daughter was also wearing these pajamas when I started a nightly Heartbeat Check. I realized that my hurried existence had caused human touch and connection to wane. And even though she was no longer a baby, she still needed her mama’s touch. So one night I asked my child if I could place my head on her chest and listen—just listen to the sound of her heart.

“Put your head on the panda,” my child offered pointing directly to the bear’s face. And so once again, the panda was my target. When I placed my head on the black and white appliqué, I heard the sound of calmness and peace; I heard the sound of hope for my hurried soul.

And so every night after that, when I saw the panda peeking out beneath the folds of a lime-green comforter, I saw my target—a target for focusing on my beautiful child, if only for a few loving minutes each night.

So you see, these pajamas were not just a piece of flannel material that kept my child warm at night. They were my anchor, my lifeline to what really mattered in a sea of distraction. And my daughter knew this. She saw the way I suddenly woke up when I looked at her in those hot pink polka dots. But what she didn’t know is that sometimes on those hard days when I was trying to find my way to a Hands Free life, I would watch her sleep.

You see, as I became less and less tied to my distractions, I became more aware of what I’d missed during my distracted years—especially with this particular child who was not yet in school at that time. I often wondered what damage I had caused by being there, but not really being there for those two distracted years. But when I crept into her bedroom and studied her face, I saw an indescribable look of peace blanketing her lovely features.  I saw that she was going to be okay. And even though I wasn’t emotionally present for part of her life, I could say, “I’m here now, baby. I’m here now.” And just acknowledging that significant fact gave me hope.

Let me just say this. If you haven’t watched your child sleep in awhile, I encourage you to do so. Creep in quietly and gaze at the peace on your child’s beautiful face. And then look at those pajamas. Those particular pajamas are only here for a season. A season. But that is not meant to make you sad. Oh no, that is meant to make you feel hopeful.

Think about it like this …

If you find yourself in a season of struggle, faced with one challenge after another, know that it will pass. Tomorrow you will be stronger having endured these hardships.

If you find yourself in a season of uncertainty—not knowing who you are or who you want to be, know that you will find your way. Today you are asking the right questions to get yourself there.

If you find yourself in a season of disappointment—regret for the choices you’ve made or the life you’ve been living, know that tomorrow is a new day. You have awareness that you didn’t have before, and you will choose more wisely now.

Pajamas have a season.

Children have a season.

Each and every one of us has a season.

Despite what happened last season, today begins a new season. Today you are waking up to what matters in life. And whether those pajamas have pandas, Ninja Turtles, or superheroes, stop and gaze at that precious human being and remember, your children will eventually outgrow those pajamas—but they will never outgrow your love.

So if you aim to start and end each precious day with love and attention, there’s a mighty good chance you’ll hit the target.

 

A Target for Life

 

*****************************************************

What seasons have you been through? What season are you going through now? Do you have any “targets” that help you focus on what really matters in life? Thank you for taking the time to share you experiences, insight, and wisdom. There is so much inspiration to be found in the comment section of this blog each week. I am truly grateful for this supportive Hands Free Revolution community!

Two more things …

* When Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery and author of “Carry on Warrior: Thoughts of Life Unarmed” asks you to write a guest post for her blog, first you cry (happy tears), then you tell your best friends (and cry some more), and then you write—you write like you never wrote before because you know your truths will be safe in Glennon’s loving hands. This story I share on Momastery is for anyone who needs to know that love prevails over failures, flaws, and imperfect days. Because sometimes we need to know our children are going to turn out okay despite it all. Please enjoy “Love as a Reference Point” and take a nice, deep breath.

** From time to time, it is important for me to shut down the laptop for a weeklong rejuvenation. This is a practice that keeps me committed to my Hands Free journey and focused on what matters in life. With that said, my blog and The Hands Free Revolution page will be quiet next week as I connect to my family and nurture my inner wellbeing. Know that I will come back with more stories and more inspiration to share with you, my faithful companions on this life-changing journey.

 

 

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Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Love prevails…. thank you for your words.

    I wish I could disconnect more and simply focus. Part of me thinks that because of my demanding time consuming job that there is no hope and disconnecting when I’m with them would do no good. But that’s wrong.

    I sorted through more of my three year old’s clothes from the first two years- I’d already donated most, but I couldn’t bring myself to give away those last items, those that are burned with memories so clear. Those that both boys wore, and I know will never be worn again by a child in my home. So sometimes the pain of what isn’t is muted by all the distractions…

    Thanks for the reminders. <3

  2. 2

    says

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I often miss my mark and are constantly ticking myself off for not really being there (I am always trying my best) … but this post has made me feel good about the one thing I do every night with my 3 children. Without fail I always visit each child on my way to bed, watch them, bring the covers into some sort of order if possible, give them each a kiss and stop for just a moment to breath in their beautiful peace and remember just how very blessed I am. I cannot remember many nights in nearly 15 years where I haven’t done this. Thank you for reminding me that I am doing ok xx

  3. 4

    says

    A beautiful post, as always. I too have chosen to slow down and see the love in the moment with my children. Life Takes Over, but the life I’m letting take over is the life that flows out of my children and into my heart each day, for which I am so grateful.

  4. 5

    says

    Picture perfect as usual, Rachel. I, too, have so many things that I can’t toss out because of the memories they hold. It’s as if the memory will be forever forgotten if I throw away that chewed up wooden screwdriver or the sweatshirt jumpers they wore so often as toddlers or the stained Xavier t-shirt or the kindergartner blocks that once towered toward to the sky.
    It’s as if they are talismans forever holding their youth, quivering with hope and anticipation, the treasured memories of their childhood, mine, not necessarily theirs.
    My best, as always, to you and your lovely family,

  5. 7

    Lisa says

    Your posts always make me cry the sweetest kind of tears. I’m a mama-wannabe (and hopefully a mama-someday-to-be) and reading your posts is a perfect precursor to mama-hood. it’s great to get the message even before embarking on the journey. I’ve always assumed that I would be a hands-free Mama, but I know that life can scoop us up sometimes, and carry us off to stressful places that we don’t even notice ourselves going to. And I love what you said about seasons. That’s so true, for all of us, with children or without. Your writing is beautiful. Eloquent, honest, and touching. Thank you, so much. It’s always a pleasure to read your writing.

  6. 8

    says

    Made me cry, again. Thank you for the beautiful reminder! I have to say that some days I’m really in tune with really being with them and not being distracted and some days I’m ‘not here’. Aiming for more days when I’m really present!

  7. 9

    Anne Almeida says

    Three out of four of my children (ages 5, 5, and 4) sleep on our floor – every night. It started as a way to allow all of us to sleep consistently – they would start in their beds and creep down at various points in the early night. One week my husband was working nights, and I allowed them to start out on our floor. It’s stayed ever since and that was months ago. But the truth is, I love to see them sleep. It gives me great peace to see their sweet faces sleeping and content. Your post helps reassure me that it won’t last forever, and I just need to embrace it.

  8. 11

    says

    The season analogy is one that will surely help those of you who have young children. For me, whose children are grown and living independent lives, it sobers me to the reality of how many seasons have passed me by as I stood unconscious. Instead of wasting my remaining seasons on regret, I’ve got a target and a plan to make every one count. Thanks!

  9. 12

    Rachel says

    Thank you for sharing this story. As a new, working Mom, I am struggling with the uncertainty of doing it all “right” for my daughter and the challenges of meeting the demands of my days and nights. I so very much want to be present for her, and worry that I’m not doing enough. This story struck a chord with my heart and the tears flowed. I’m not sure I have the answers except praying each day over her, and me, but I am trying to enjoy each precious moment I can because when she runs to me with open arms and hugs me tight, I am just grateful for all she gives to me. Thank you.

  10. 13

    Stephanie says

    For the past few years, my “target” has been the hand prints on my walls. My “I don’t know how she does it all” former self used to be exasperated by the kid-smudges that covered *everything*.

    But then one day as I was following the kids around with a bottle of Windex, I remembered my cousin, the once-famous “Bubble Boy”. And I thought, what would my aunt have given up to be able to see her son’s hand prints on her walls? (the answer: everything) With her son permanently behind a sterile plastic environment, my aunt wasn’t able to kiss her son’s cheek or run her fingers through his hair or see his fresh-from-outside, sweaty hand prints on her walls.

    The hand prints on my walls remind me that I have been blessed with healthy, active, and *messy* children who leave their mark wherever they go, and that I can kiss, caress and heartbeat-check them whenever I want. I aim to do that everyday, as an expression of gratitude for what matters most.

    • 14

      Ann says

      Beautifully put, Stephanie. I’m not there yet but I too want it not to matter about handprints/messes; thank you.

  11. 15

    says

    I love this post! For once, I didn’t end up a sobbing heap, which was a nice change for me. :) But it’s no less touching than others, and I totally relate to the sadness of having to pack away a beloved item of clothing, and the memories along with it.

    Personally I’m in a season of change – leaving my corporate job next month and striking out on my own, trying to build a brand-new life for me and my family where Mommy is more fulfilled, less stressed, and more present for the kids. When I told my daughter that I had finally given my boss my notice, her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree, and she got a huge smile on her face, exclaiming, “You mean you don’t have to work for them anymore?! Hooray!” :)

    Looking forward to this season and the next…and the next… :)

  12. 16

    TL says

    Thanks–this is a sweet story and reminder. I’m struggling with the loss of a career teaching job that has also been very time consuming. On the one hand, I loved it, I love my students and friends at school, but on the other hand, I have been too busy and tired oftentimes. The part at the end where you talked about starting a new season is very timely for me as I grieve the loss of community and friends at work, but embrace a fuller life at home, waiting to see what God has for us next. I’m sad, but I want to move toward hopeful. Being with my son always reminds me of things that matter.

  13. 17

    says

    What a post that I needed right now, today. I am going through a season of uncertainty with a lot of things, including my job and it’s tough to stay focused.

    I feel incredibly connected to all my 3-year-old’s clothes. I look at one item and I am instantly taken back to a memory. To make the process for me easier (hmmmm) I have a couple of boxes that I’ve picked out my favorite clothes or have special meaning. I’m going to one day make a quilt with those clothes. Now I don’t know how to sew a stitch, but I will learn specifically for this project. I want it to be something my daughter can have when she is an adult.

  14. 19

    dad says

    Rachel

    A wonderful message so well expressed. Your mom and I continue to hold dear your stuff toy and the monkey that Rebecca held when she fell asleep. So many great memories attached to the clothing that children wear especially PJ’s. Enjoy your week of well deserved rest

    love

    dad

  15. 20

    Kelli says

    I love your blog. It is such a good reminder to me just how precious my sweet children are, and how much they need their momma.

    Thank you again!

  16. 21

    Jennifer says

    My daughter has that nightgown. And I love the soft fleece of it. She does too, even in these warmer days. Thank you for the reminder to hold her. I might ask her tonight to listen to the Panda….

  17. 22

    Lloyd Neale says

    Rachel, you continue to be a blessing and breath of fresh air to your readers with important messages like ‘seasons’. I’m reminded it’s the season when a child says goodbye to another year in school and parents are reminded of how fast time passes as their child grows older. I used the term ‘season’ with parents when I made reference to the year in school they would be spending with me as their teacher/principal. I reminded them how fast the seasons would pass before that one season came when they would be leaving home and be on their own. The timeline of seasons a parent spends raising their children is so short in their lifetime of seasons. We need to be reminded make every season essential in what matters most in granting unconditional love and what matters in life. Please be assured all your readers continue to be touched & inspired by your written words and powerful messages.

  18. 23

    Laura says

    I stumbled across this today (my first visit to your blog) & it was more meaningful than I can even say, particularly for today. I am living in a season of uncertainty myself (personal & professional) and often wonder about the consequences that has for my children. Today I struggled to play a game of “I Spy” in the car with my 6 y/o daughter while choking back tears & holding down a nervous stomach (over all the uncertainty). Tonight I’ll be home by bedtime & I’ll do my best to give her some light hearted attention while I tuck her in…then I’ll sneak back in & watch her sweet little face sleep & soothe my soul. I’ll be looking forward to that all day!

  19. 24

    Theresa says

    The seasons was a great analogy. I can certainly understand this as a mother as eight, a former foster mother, adoptive mother, and now helping to raise two of my grandchildren I’ve been through many seasons. Some days I am so frustrated because my mind and body are not as youthful as they used to be. So in keeping up with little ones now running around I tired much easier and my patience is a bit thinner then it once was. I trust that God has provided me these challenges and He to will provide me the strength to fulfill this important role. I can tell all you young moms that time is fleeting and they grow before you even blink your eyes. Take the time to smell the sweet fragrance of their hair, hold their chubby hands, embrace them in your lap because all to soon they are becoming independent young adults.

  20. 25

    Callie says

    Beautifully written. I am reminded lately to “just breathe” and be in the moment, whether it is just making lunch for my three kids, whom are all far capable of doing so themselves. This simple act gave such joy to my kids today. There has been so much stress and turmoil in our lives the past 2 1/2 years with loved ones being gravely ill and having a very difficult family member to deal with. Our kids have had to be patient for me to find the time to devote to them. Time hasn’t stopped even though these difficult things are going on in our lives. Thank you for reminding me to stop and hug that proverbial “panda”.

  21. 29

    Roby says

    My heart aches with and feels joy for yours. I have big girls (19 and 16) now and there is one special container for clothing I couldn’t part with. They came up with the idea to make pillows from tees they couldn’t part with…perhaps that’s an idea for your little one’s future.
    Thank you for sharing!

  22. 30

    says

    This truly touched me. Thank you. I can’t think of much more to say other than thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings. You always express what I yearn for and feel in my own heart. Mother’s hearts will always ache for a child always grows. I don’t say that with sadness. I say that with hope and reverence for the time you do have. I always think that as the mother to my child, I am walking on sacred ground. When she asks me for a song, to read five books instead of two, when she wants to change her clothes again, when she wants to tuck in her dolls one more time, to take her time to do things her own way, I smile and remember how special she is and how little time I have with this sweet little girl and I say yes. Thank you again.

  23. 31

    says

    Such beautiful words brought tears to my eyes as I sit waiting for my children to wake up for the day….they’re not going to know what hit them when they get smothered in hugs this morning :)
    Thank you so much for sharing your journey, it helps me.

  24. 32

    Ann says

    I’m just a newbie to this blog but I have yet to read a post which doesn’t bring tears to my eyes. This post is beautiful/touching and inspires me. I wish I could be the Mom I want to be… maybe someday. In the meantime, I do what I can. I treasure every hug, kiss, ‘I love you’s’, giggle, chase, and sleeping angel face. I wish I handled stress better and could just let things flow off my back… sooner rather than later. But thank you, Rachel, for sharing your love, life, and experiences in such a manner. Bless you and your family.

  25. 33

    Katrina Vodopich says

    Thank you for the beautiful way that you speak as I often hear my inner voice saying the same and in a world full of lists, demands, requirements & expectations that inner voice often gets pushed to the side to the point that it’s not heard and/or listened too, much to the detriment to all in my life, especially me however I rejoice in those infrequent moments when I can be still and listen to a heart beat, whether one of my children’s, which reminds of the miracles that I and my husband made and think how lucky we are realising once again that all the stuff we have, need & do pails in significance to our real purpose and that is to love and guide each other, and our children, or listening to my husband’s heart beat when we stop long enough to hug…

    As a grown woman, daughter & now a mum I will never forget that feeling of calm & security hugging my dad and listening to his heart beat, even now it gives me solace.

    Human touch is so important and not just for little ones but for everyone, so today I aim to hug & cuddle all day, and what a wonderful smile I have one my face just thinking about it.

    Once again thank you for your beautiful words.

  26. 35

    Judy Hendricks says

    Oh how moving and informative this beautiful post was to my heart, soul & mind. I am going through seasons in which I have made poor decisions and have been very confused about what God is attempting to tell me. It is as if my soul in an abyss and there is no light when I look up. This post has been a message to me that I need to have more faith, let people and past mistakes go..if God cam forgive me then I should forgive myself and others. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone…but I know God is in tomorrow just as He is with me at this moment. Thank God for your forgiveness, love and for never giving up on me. Amen

  27. 36

    Tam says

    Thank you, I tell my children often that I miss what they were, love where they are and look forward to who they are growing into. How can a mum want all those stages at the same time? I don’t know, you just do. Mine are 10 and 8 and I do miss the tiny tots, the wide eyed innocence, the unconditional adoration they offer and yes, I do feel guilty, and I am a stay at home mum!!!! There will always be something missed, some idea that you now see others do that make you regret missing something. For me it is the digital photos. It wasn’t really achievable when dd was a baby, and now I find myself wistfully looking at the most beautiful maternity, newborn, baby and toddler photos with envy. Oh, I have lots of photos, just not those beautiful posed ones. Mine hold no less memories, don’t get me wrong, but had the technology, and lets be honest, the affordability been available, I would have had them.

    Nevertheless, I can only strive to let mine know each da y how much they are loved. That is all any of us can do. I think that guilt and regret are prerequisite in the job description of mum, the trick I am still learning is not to let it become to big!!!!

    Thank you for your post. They grow up far too quickly!!

  28. 37

    Gian says

    Thanks for sharing, a great reminder for us all to keep focus.

    If you still have those Panda PJs, you should frame them and write a letter or a poem about your experiences together and what you have taught each other and there yet again, on your wall somewhere you will always see, your focus point. :)

  29. 38

    says

    I have just started reading your post. The words you have written sometimes seem to come straight out of my own heart and head!! This is something I have been striving for too for sometime, and work towards every day. Finding the right balance is a daily target and I thank you for sharing your experience.

  30. 39

    Elaine says

    My only problem is that with 11 kids (7 adopted) I have ended up with so many “special” blankies, nightgowns, superman, batman, spiderman, princess p.j.’s that I have ended up with a few storage units full. The children haven’t homes to store their own precious stuff as yet, but I would rather pay the bill to keep the treasures safe for a time when they will remember and want them for their own kids.

  31. 40

    Shelly says

    Thank you. I really needed to hear these words today. I am struggling to let go of the distractions in my life and focus on what truly matters. As always, you are an inspiration. I love your blog!

  32. 41

    Carol F says

    I needed this today. Really needed it. We are in the midst of a huge distracting family crisis and my 7-year old son has been so patient with me through it all. (Been going on since February.) He seems to understand my need to take care of other things, but I think it is difficult for him, more difficult than he knows how to say. Our bedtimes have been our reconnection times recently. He’s slept with me and/or daddy more than not these past few months. I’m thankful for those times, but will make a more concerted effort to be present during our waking hours from here on. Thanks again for another heartfelt post seemingly aimed directly at me. :-)

  33. 42

    says

    Your stories always strike a chord with me, but today was a day where I didn’t take down a list of things I need to do to be a better mama. No. Today I smiled for the things that I am doing right. Maybe it’s because the season we’re in is the one where we are almost certain we are done having kids. With that comes the sadness of not being in “this” moment again. Since reading your blog last year, I’ve made a consistent effort to be distracted less and present more. And while I know that I have a long ways to go, I’m on the right path. I take notice of the small things. I enjoy watching them sleep and not caring so much when my 4 year old crawls into bed with me every.single.morning. I don’t like being kicked around, but I know that these moments are fleeting and wont’ be around long. Thank you for helping me see that I’m already doing a lot of things right.

    On another note…can I just say how incredibly excited I was to see you over at Momastery? Two of Three of my favorite bloggers in one place? What??! It was awesome and beautifully written. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Enjoy your hands free week making memories! :)

  34. 43

    Jana Taylor says

    Seasons…the seasons of our childrens’ lives are bittersweet. We are happy that they are growing but sad that they are no longer “little”. I’ve moved into the “wedding season” and as my daughter & I discuss & prepare for her November wedding, I celebrate this milestone for her but yes I’m a little sad as she might not “need me” as much. Oh let’s face it, at 23 she doesn’t need me much at all. =)
    I suppose my next season will be as the grandmother & as that time approaches, I will encourage my “baby” to connect with her children daily…just like you do.

    • 44

      Angela says

      Thanks for your perspective from a little further down the line Jana! I guess it doesn’t get any easier with each season that passes. But I believe it is important to be present in what ever season it is that you are in, because each one is special and short lived. This blog is lovely for helping me remember that – both the blog itself and the insights of others like yourself who comment. Thank you all for helping to keep it right in FRONT of me, and reinforcing the value of what I am trying to achieve daily :)

  35. 46

    says

    My husband and I are gearing up for an intense phase. The six month push through the more demanding summer schedule and then student teaching in the Fall. I find myself wanting to count down the days, but I know that even if we are working toward more relax days, that is no reason to wish this next one away. I want to be present and giving in the time that is full even if just to remind me to continue to make choices to keep life from regularly becoming that full.

    Thanks for this beautiful post!

  36. 48

    Missy says

    I have read several of your moving posts. They are so relevant, I feel like we are talking as old friends over tea. The knowledge of your experiences (and those of your commenting readers) brings a sense of normalcy to me. At the same time,you offer wonderful ideas and thoughts on how to resolve the mixed emotions of our lives. I’m forever thankful to your generosity and eloquence. I also treasure even more my sweet friend who shared your post a few weeks ago and connected me to your site, just when I needed it.

  37. 49

    says

    Hi Rachel, my mother sent me a link to this beautiful guest post. It touched my heart as it looks like it did so many others. I’m hoping you are ok if I share some of your words in a speech I am giving tomorrow. Of course I will reference your blog and tell everyone if they want to be really inspired they must come here :) What beautiful thoughts you share!! Thank you so much for sharing your voice.

    Love, Shawni

  38. 51

    Marcie says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I appreciate this blog that I have recently stumbled upon! As I sit here with tears in my eyes, because I missed so much of my children growing up. I continuously beat myself up for some of the choices I made. My life did not really turn out the way I had planned. I find that I am right now tearing up because of what I missed. But I also realize from reading this post that I can start from today! My kids “Adults” who are now 19,21,23,&24 continue to be the light of my life. I worry about them constantly! After reading this I have decided I will be more hands free. I long to place my head on the heart of my (6ft 7in) “little” boy or my lizard loving (6ft) oldest son, or my beautifully independent daughter! or my (6ft 2in) baby boy! I will try! I think that touch may just be what each of them needs. Over the years, each of the boys has become less and less touchable! But thanks for the inspiration, I am going to attempt doing things differently from reading your blog!

  39. 53

    says

    Hi I just wanted to share with you that you have inspired me to start blogging again and have given me a new kind of direction in my blog that I was looking for…thank you! I really love reading your blog. It helps me stay focused and brings me a deeper view of life. You are a wonderful writer/thinker. Great job in helping make this world a better place and touching many lives out there!
    PS I hope it is okay I have a link to your blog on my own.

  40. 57

    Kristen Van Buskirk says

    My 6-year old had those same exact pajamas. My 4-year old now has them. Now, every time I see that panda I will think of this sweet story. My husband and I alternate reading to the 6 and 4 yr. old each night and snuggling with them before bed. However, last night I found myself rushing my daughter to get her to read for her 10 minutes and not allowing her to go on about the wonderful gingerbread house she wants to make as she was inspired by the gingerbread house book she was reading. It is hard to balance those special fleeting moments with our young ones with the business of every day life, but I am inspired by your blog and your reminders to capture those special fleeting moments as treasures that we can hold in our hearts forever!

  41. 58

    carly says

    You know, you can turn those beloved PJs into snuggle pillows… Just a thought. It could be cool for the kids (or you:) to keep them so they can see how much they’ve grown. Just an idea :)

    Reading your blog is like eating an equally delicious and nutritious meal. Real food for thought!

  42. 59

    Hil says

    Hi, I just stumbled across your blog tonight, I’ve read two posts and cried twice! Looking forward to reading some more.
    I am definitely guilty of not giving my son the time and attention he deserves, as a single mum of one (very gorgeous 6 year old) I do find myself struggling to get everything done and often end up forgetting the most important thing, my son. A comment that hit me hard this week was when he made a suggestion to me as we were on our way back from the shops, it would have taken us right out of our way and so I said no. His simple response was ‘you never listen to my suggestions’ and as I looked at him his little face had fallen. Wow! I actually don’t, well not as much as I probably should. It wouldn’t have taken too much longer but I was just so focused on the task ahead. I vowed to myself there and then that I would listen to his ideas more, take my foot off the pedal and enjoy the ride of life with my beautiful boy. Just wanted to share that with you :-) xx

    • 60

      Anniegirl says

      Oh my gosh, Hil, when you mentioned your little guy’s face falling, I immediately thought of my son, too, and it broke my heart. I think of the times I’ve sounded disappointed or upset when he broke something, whether it be something of mine or his toys. And when he’s spilled a dish with food or a glass of milk (or held the juice box wrong so it pops out – lol) especially after I just told him to be careful. Or when I didn’t have time to give him a hug because I had to get ready so we could leave in time (that’s what happened today). Shame on me.

      And, to Rachel and all the Moms here, it is heartening to know I’m not alone. I still beat myself up a lot but maybe not as much as before.

      What I don’t understand is I know time is precious… that my ‘baby’ boy is so beautiful and smart and sweet… that he deserves all the love, kindness, support, and encouragement in the world… that he deserves my attention and patience… that I shouldn’t be so stressed or take things so serious. So, what is my problem? Why can’t I just smile and say ‘It’s okay, son’? I do sometimes but not near as much as I want to.

      Thanks for listening. Cheers to all the great parents and great kids out there – bless us all!

      • 61

        Hil says

        Hi Anniegirl,
        Those things you mentioned (especially the juice spilling) I do all those things too! You are so right, its good to know that we all react in similar ways. I guess the thing is to not beat ourselves up over what we could have done differently but rather recognising our ‘must try harder’ areas and move forward. It’s 06:55 here in the UK and I can’t wait for my boy to wake up so I can start being a more ‘hands free mama’ :-) xxx

        • 62

          Anniegirl says

          You’re so right, Hil! Absolutely. I know… I had to have a snuggle before he woke up – lol. My heart swells when I think of him or look at him. Take care and have a terrific weekend!!! xxx

  43. 63

    says

    All I can say is: Thank you.
    I read many blogs. Blogs about crafts and parenting and raising organic kids, but yours is the only one that makes me feel truly touched and introspective. I truly admire your Hands Free Revolution. Thank you.

  44. 65

    Tracey Hutchings says

    I really wish I’d been reading your blog for much longer – it is beautiful and potent, and just the kind of reminder that parents need in their lives. The kind of reminder I need, often!

  45. 66

    sueforn says

    There is so much I could say about this article about how it truly touched my soul. I strive each day to drink in all that my 3 year old son has to offer, all that he experiences and sees. I sometimes fail miserably (last night dinner thrown on the table at 7:45pm, while my son eats alone and I prep for his daycare) other times I am just so lost in the moment – staring at a daddy long legs with him, catching fireflies and making s’mores past bedtime. I am amazed that God has given me this sweet, handsome, determined, strong-willed child. I am thankful I have found your inspiring words and your blog. Be here now.

  46. 67

    Michelle says

    My daughter had a nightgown that had crayons in the shape of a heart on it and said, “Color me Happy”
    And we both loved that nightgown (for different reasons-lol) She loved it for the color and softness, I loved it because it was my reminder to be happy and grateful for HER. To keep my focus that she would not be little forever.
    So when she outgrew it, neither one of us could put it in the bag to be sent off to a second-hand place.
    So I cut out the picture on the front and framed it.
    :-) Now we both can look at it and remember our fond memories. :-)

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