Making today count...

It seems like I’ve been bombarded lately by the same message:  make today count with your children.

Over at 5 Minutes for Special Needs, Suzanne Perryman has a thought-provoking message about loving your children as though today wastheir last one on earth. We have no guarantees about tomorrow. When our kids have medical issues, this point is especially true.

Lynn Cowell, contributing author at Proverbs 31 Ministries, echoed the same message about being genuinelypresent for our children  before they are grown and gone from home. Our kids have only one childhood; if we are going to be part of it, we need to do that while it is here.

Our family has experienced some harrowing moments over the past few months that underscore this appreciation for time, for making the very most out of the precious minutes we share with our children.

Our daughter’s myoclonic jerking has taken on a challenging new twist over the past two months that has caused us to step back and appreciate our time in a new way. It now consumes all her waking moments. Her whole body thrashes with rhythmic pulses that she cannot control. It’s exhausting, debilitating, and progressing with frightening speed. The movements are so unique and unfamiliar to her doctors that they wanted her tested to rule out brain tumors or deep-brain seizures. We are grateful that the tests came back clear, but their potentially serious—even fatal—outcomes have underscored the importance of treasuring the time we have with her.

The week after hearing the relieving news about our daughter’s brain scans, I was called into my gastroenterologist’s office to discuss biopsy results from a recent colonoscopy. Now a doctor doesn’t usually bring you to his office to congratulate you for a happy colon, so I knew the news wasn’t going to be happy-skippy. Those few days between the call to come in and the arrival of the actual appointment left time to mull over the sobering thought that none of us are guaranteed a 60th birthday nor even good health. While I’m not looking forward to repeating the colonoscopy in a year to make sure the pre-cancerous polyp is completely gone, I’m thrilled not to be receiving a diagnosis of cancer.

And I find myself doing a bit more of what both Suzanne and Lynn remind us...

...focus less on the housework and more on the children

...turn off the computer/phone/tv and turn full attention onto listening to our kids

I’m doing more to include my kids, whether it’s an invitation to join me on errands or in the kitchen to get dinner ready or just sit close together under a blanket when the family is watching tv.

Instead of racing to “get through” personal care and hygiene moments, I am trying to turn them into opportunities to connect and communicate. Sure, it takes longer. And realistically, I can’t do it every time. But when I can it is oh-so-worthwhile.

This savoring of moments with our kids is wonderfully selfish as we benefit from the interactions and memories shared with them. AND it is an act of giving, in that our children receive love and respect and the knowledge that they are treasured. Is there anything better than that kind of two-way benefit?

What do you do to treasure these days you have with your children? Treasuring isn't limited just to parents...teachers, Sunday school teachers, 4-H leaders, therapists, doctors...anyone who impacts the lives of kids has the opportunity to hold these precious moments. How do you savor days with a child?


Barbara said...

My Hubby and I had to remind ourselves to each spend time one-on-one with each child. Every time we did this we realized a benefit. We had to remind ourselves because we both have a natural mindset towards 'all of us together'.

We also had basic 'rules' about limited 'screen time' - that were modified as the children grew. Hubs and I are not big sports people and kept the extracurriculars to 2 - less than most families around us. Scouts and karate were the largest part of our children's extracurriculars. We camped as a family. Here is my post about that:

Rather dramatic, but sometimes it takes packing-up and leaving home to bring everyone together.

The technology lure has only increased since our children have entered college. The challenge to value in-person relationship time does not go away.

Rose-Marie said...

What excellent recommendations, Barbara! Camping is such an awesome way to make sure we are all very much "present" for each other. It can be a bit tricky with wheelchairs and medical equipment, but accessible campgrounds do exist if you hunt around. We found a lovely one not an hour from our house!

And then there is screen time. Sigh. That topic has been weighing heavy on my mind. It's a whole 'nother post. My own screen time definitely needs to be cut...

Thanks for wise suggestions from a wise mom!

Barbara said...

You give me too much credit, Rose Marie!

We saw an accessible campground recently - very encouraging!

I require a bit more self-discipline for restricting screen time, too! Seems like I just meet so many nice people like you! :)