Because sometimes bedtime takes forever … and it should.

by Kari on August 9, 2013

Patterson-154

It all happened tonight.

Five minutes earlier we had been laughing. But now I pulled her blankets up, kissed her round, peach cheeks, and saw a flash of sadness and fear in her eyes.

“What is it, babygirl? What’s wrong?”

Her eyes filled, face twisting into that sadness, the kind we hold back, even as children, holding fear at bay but then something breaks the dam and it all floods forward.

She held her breath for a moment, the words spilled out: “I don’t want my teeth to fall out!” 

Tears streamed down her cheeks, her tiny body shaking with sobs, eyes shut in sadness.

“Oh sweetie! Your teeth won’t fall out! Why do you think they’ll fall out?” Whatever birthed this belief, clearly it was tormenting her.

She held her breath again, unable to say the words. I know that feelings, babygirl. Finally she spit out the truth: “Because I suck my thumb. Because I suck my thumb, my teeth are moving back and I’ll have to get braces and my teeth will fall out.”

I raised my eyebrows. Oh boy. Now I don’t know where she heard this, but let it be known that kids do take our words seriously, even when they seem to be ignoring us.

“Oh sweetie. Your teeth won’t fall out. And even if you have to get braces, that’s ok. But are you feeling like you’re ready to stop sucking your thumb?” She nodded, fear and hope mixed in her tears.

“Ok. That’s a great plan. I’ll snuggle you and we’ll play music and I’ll hold onto your hands to help you.” So we did this. But as with every meltdown, the issue is never the issue.  We snuggled, but the tears kept coming. Still, her body shook with sobs. Still she couldn’t get her breath to slow. Fifteen minutes turned to twenty, turned to thirty, turned to forty-five. I propped up on my elbow to look in her eyes. Sadness deeper than teeth issues. She finally spoke again, works choked out between sobs:

“I want to … remember … this night forever. And that other night …. when you snuggled me for a long time … I want to remember both nights forever, how you snuggled me.”

“Ok, yes. Let’s remember this forever.”

“And …” her voice caught in tears: “When I’m all grown up will you write down a list of all the things I did when I was little? So I can always remember?” I looked into her eyes, bewildered and suddenly caught by the significance of this question and the depth of understanding and emotion she was showing. I looked deep into her questioning, sad, hopeful eyes. 

“Yes! Of course, sweetie. I’ll write everything down, so we can remember together. When …” and now my voice caught, “When you’re all grown up.”

I leaned my face down, my wet cheek against hers. I can already see her at 14, tall with brown curls and muscular legs and still-round cheeks and laughing still, head thrown back, a wide-eyed wonderment. Will I still be here? Will she still be here? What will be different? What will I wish I had done? Will I have any regrets? Will I remember all the things she did “when she was little” so I can write them in a list? 

I couldn’t breathe.

I don’t know how long we lay there, her tiny body wrapped up in mine. But the summer evening sun turned to darkness and the air cooled, coming through the window. At some point she asked for daddy. Jeff joined us. Eventually she stilled, slept.

And it’s all so complex. Love. Parenting. Nurturing. Bedtime’s 7:30 but it was well past 9pm when I slid out from under those Hello Kitty covers and tiptoed back into our room. And silently I thanked God for enough margin in life to be there for her. Meltdowns aren’t marked on the schedule; tears are never timed well. But by the grace of God I resolve to be with my children as much as possible, to notice the flash of sadness in the eyes and wipe the tears and stay an hour longer than planned. She will be 14 and then 40. I will be here and then gone.

O Father, with all that is in us we ask: Help us love our children well.

{May your weekend we blessed. Thank you for reading.}

~

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{ 154 comments… read them below or add one }

Marilyn August 9, 2013 at 7:59 am

Beautiful, Kari – beautiful.

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Thank you!

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Melissa August 9, 2013 at 8:40 am

Yes, Lord, help me love my children well. Oh Kari, this is exactly what I have doing lately. Soaking in every minute with my children because we never know when we will be here or gone. Thank you for sharing these words!

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Amen, girl! I know you do this. Love you!

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Marilyn Herndon August 9, 2013 at 11:09 am

Oh Kari, what a beautiful writing! Tears again! Oh how I wish I could go back. How sad it is that we only get one chance and sometimes we don’t know what to do with that chance. Thank you for your writings. God put you here for “such a time as this”! May He continue to bless you and may you continue to help all of us. Blessings my Friend! Love you!

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Thank you, Marilyn!

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Natalie Trust August 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm

My heart moved to this. Beautiful, Kari, just beautiful.

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Thank you, Natalie.

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dad August 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm

tears………….papa

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Alana @ Sparrow + Grace August 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Funny that you write about this now. For years, my son has had a habit of being tucked in bed and then, all of a sudden, wanting to talk. And talk. And talk and talk and… you get the idea. This blows my mind because I’m an introvert and I seem to have a daily “word maximum”, whereas he does. not. It wasn’t until a week ago that I realized this habit. So now, we have “pushed his bedtime back” about thirty minutes and try to give him time to say whatever’s on his mind before officially saying “good night”. It seems to be helping!

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I love this! Amen and amen, bedtime is prime time for talking. Bless you, Alana!

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Bree August 11, 2013 at 9:53 am

Oooooh – this is just how I feel! My boy is almost 6 and I wonder when the bedtime routine will end. Will it be inappropriate when he is 10? or 12? Because I wonder who doesn’t want their child’s day to end in the safety, security, and love of their parents’ embrace? thank you for sharing your life….and your heart.

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Siobhan September 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm

It will be inappropriate if and when – and only then! – he no longer wants this of you. I believe it is our job as mothers to be there for our children (in so far as our situations and our ability to control them allow) for as long as they want us, and allow them to become independent at their own pace in their own time. And that desire for independence will push them from within to pull away from us, in time.

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Amen. Ending the day in safety, security and love of their parents’ embrace. Well said. Keep it up!

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D September 13, 2013 at 6:46 am

When I was in college a boy “broke my heart.” I went home to stay with my parents for the weekend and my mom laid in bed with me until I fell asleep. I was devastated by the breakup and, even as an “adult,” I needed a parent to help me feel safe and secure. That was over 10 years ago and I often remember that night with fondness. The memory of the broken heart is long gone (looking back, the guy really wasn’t worth all the tears) but the love, support and comfort I felt from my mom will stay with me forever. So, as its already been said, it’s appropriate as long as your children need and want you there. On those nights, it felt appropriate.

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Angela September 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm

What an amazing mom you are blessed with! I aspire to be like her!

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Christine January 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm

This was so beautiful! Takes me back to the days when my kids would crawl on top of my bed with me, on either side. We would talk, read a story, sing Jesus Loves You(I changed it to sing to them), and would pray together, snuggling. This went on until well into their teenage years…each night I wondered if it would be the last…wondered when they would drift away to their own bedtime routine. Even after we stopped this tradition, there are the odd, special nights where, even as they are almost ready to move out on their own, they ask to do this…just for the memories, the comfort…the love! Cherish it…every moment you get…they won’t forget! :)

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Dana September 9, 2013 at 9:56 am

It’s beautiful. I like the part “O Father, with all that is in us we ask: Help us love our children well.” In Buddhism, we say every child is a little Bodhisattva that help the parents grow.

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Thank you for joining us here, Dana! Those children do certainly help us grow!

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Jim September 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm

And As It Is Such, So Also As Such Is It Unto You.

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Jennifer Small September 10, 2013 at 6:41 am

This brought tears to my eyes. We get so busy in our everyday life that sometimes we fail to slow down and appreciate the moment were living in. I’ve got a daughter that is 18 and off in college and another daughter that is only 8. I had my oldest when I was still a baby myself and I have a heart filled with hurt. I feel that I didn’t have that “quality time” because I was so consumed with work and trying to provide all the necessary things such a home and food. I was a single mom and it was really hard, but failure wasn’t an option. Today I’m so fortunate to stay home and volunteer 3 days a week at my youngest daughters school. I’ve volunteered for the last 4 years and I get a greater satisfaction from my volunteer work then any paycheck. This time I get bonuses in the form of time well spent with my youngest daughter. These are precious years and I know all too well how fast they go. So please take time with your children before they are grown and leave for college. We live in Florida and my oldest daughter just moved to Texas for college, I miss her so dearly! I miss seeing her beautiful face each morning and hearing her laughter throughout our home. Time went by all too quick… enjoy every minute you have because before you know it you will be packing up their car.

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Oh, thank you for sharing this Jennifer. I will enjoy every minute, thank you for the beautiful perspective.

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Jeanne September 10, 2013 at 9:09 am

btw, I hope everyone is realizing you must start that list now. You can’t wait until she’s grown up . . . you won’t remember. And if you let her know you have begun the list, she can remind you of days to include on the list. My husband’s grandmother kept a very short, simple diary for most of her life – just a few sentences about what they’d done each day. It’s amazing to read now about life then and about little “Ricky” and mountains of laundry with the washing machine broken and how much he loved the new puppy and on and on. Stories no one remembers until they read the words she wrote down. Start your lists now! Be faithful to continue them. Loved your words today. Thanks so much.

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Kari September 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Wow, thank you so much for this reminder. I need to do this. NOW! Thank you!

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MaryAnn Sanford September 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

Those bedtime moments & memories from my now grown sons, still give me joy and satisfaction that I did make them a priority and tried hard to let the sun go down in their worlds with love and happiness around them. I have even more precious bedtime moments with my Grandkids~ as they gently kiss me and hug me tight, saying words of kindness that will forever touch my heart:) For the first time in my life, I have been told, “Grammy, you’re pretty” and “I wish I could live with you everyday and forever!”. So Blessed and THANKFUL!!

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Amen!! Precious moments, precious words. Love this. Thank you!

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Connie Beam September 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm

This post is so beautifully written and will, I think, have special meaning to most parents. I feel as another reader expressed, . . . “Oh how I wish I could go back. How sad it is that we only get one chance and sometimes we don’t know what to do with that chance.” I wish I had been more enlightened about what to do with that one chance for my sweet babies.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 6:43 am

Thank you, Connie!

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Shawna Hausmann September 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

OH MY! I am not an emotional person but this touched my heart so! Sounds like a similar conversation i’ve had with my 4 year old baby:) Even tho I don’t know you, as mothers, we band together to raise our children in the best way possible! You are definitely doing a wonderful job! Thank you for sharing! I will be honored to follow you’re blog as I would you mine…www.hausfullofblessings.com

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Aw, thank you Shawna! Yes, what a beautiful new blog you have! Well done!

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Kelly Groth September 10, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Thank you for such a great reminder…

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Linda September 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I just dropped off my baby at college a few weeks ago. Enjoy your time with your little one, it truly goes so very fast. I would give anything to turn the clock back 10 years :)

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Thank you, Linda!

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Elizabeth Pantley September 11, 2013 at 6:43 am

Awww, Kari! This is beautiful. If only all parents could follow this theme… we’d have a world of happier children. I’m going to share this post on my Facebook page ~

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Thank you, Elizabeth! So honored and grateful to have you here!

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Jaimie September 11, 2013 at 7:48 am

This made me bawl. So beautiful. Thanks for posting.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Oh, I’m sorry you bawled but grateful it touched your heart! Thank you, Jaimie.

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Solomon September 11, 2013 at 8:37 am

Wow……Too overwhelmed!! Struck a chord deep within…..!!

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Thank you, Solomon.

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Kristi September 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

Thanks for writing this! I needed it today.

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Tiffany September 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

When I had my baby my wonderful boss gave this one line a day 5 year journal. I keep it on my desk and try to reflect on the previous day and write down something first thing. Even if its he slept well. Or we had dinner with the folks. It’s wonderfully easy and I actually do it since it doesn’t take much time.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm

What a great idea! My dad does the same thing–one sentence a day. I need to start that!

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Becky September 11, 2013 at 9:38 am

I needed this reminder after a rough night with a precious 4 year old just last night. Bless him, all he wanted was to be snuggled into his bed and I failed him… I had already realized my failure last night and promised him at breakfast that tonight would be different and we will snuggle as long as it takes! It’s a new day, right? Thank you for your words!

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Amen, it’s a new day! His mercies are new every morning (and evening). Blessings, Becky!

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Joann Woolley September 11, 2013 at 9:42 am

How quickly time passes and soon we are filled with regret – stories like this remind us to be present.

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Dee Dee September 11, 2013 at 10:06 am

I strongly believe in the family bed. Every night is a night to remember until your child is old enough to live on memories instead of experiencing the closeness.

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Mom of 5 September 11, 2013 at 10:21 am

That is the cutest thing ever, brought tears to my eyes.. So so beautiful God Bless for Little Angels

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Jennifer September 11, 2013 at 11:01 am

I normally read but don’t comment. I felt the urge to comment because I can relate completely.
I have a wonderful, smart, independent baby girl that just turned 14. She has always been my cuddle bug, until now. She is still my best friend and we share our moments but she has recently, in the last year stopped giving me the affection she always has. So breath it all in while you can. Cuddle her, talk to her for hours in bed, spend the time doing all those wonderful things while you can.
I also have a 2 year old so I am not letting any moment get lost or hurried. I know it does last forever so I’m stopping to soak in every moment so I remember as many of the little moments as possible.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Thank you so much for taking the moment to comment, Jennifer. And thank you for your beautiful reminder. I receive your advice!

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Melanie September 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I happened to catch Elizabeth Pantley’s post directing me here in between one of my many, *many* trips into Lucas’s room for “just one more hug” at nap time today. At 2 1/2, Lucas has never been a good, reliable sleeper. We have embraced co-sleeping and we enjoy it, however I am having a hard time with this, his newest phase, the one where he takes 45-90 minutes to go to sleep because he needs to tell us one more thing or requires one more hug (one more hug ten times). I was at my wit’s end. But after reading this post, tears, streaming down my face, you have reminded me that this, too, shall pass, which will be bittersweet, won’t it? Thank you – the timing for me to come across this post was impeccable. No matter how many times we tell ourselves to enjoy the journey, have patience and so on, sometimes we need someone else, a stranger like you even, to wrap it up succinctly like a V8 bop on the head. Grateful :)

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Haha, absolutely! We DO need reminding, all of us. That’s why we have each other along this mama-journey, right? So glad you were here today, Melanie. Thanks for your kind words!

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Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources September 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Yes. This. A thousand times yes. I have six children from 25-years-old down to a toddler, and this scene has played itself out time and time again through the years, not just when they are tiny, but in their pre-teen and teen years. Being available and fully present in the quiet moments of the nighttime routine or in the deep hours of the night opens the door to connection points that lead to sharing and understanding like nothing else does. So beautiful. <3

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Thank you so much for visiting! I so appreciate your encouragement and affirmation in this. What a testimony you are–I enjoyed your site and materials! Thanks again.

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Sudea September 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I loved this blog. A friend of mine shared it on her facebook page and it’s a good reminder. I try to be relaxed in my parenting and time all the while balancing it with routines and boundaries for my children and you know: you always have to pray for the grace to get through each moment of everyday. Every day is a gift and children are so precious. Lately bedtime has been a challenge but you know, tears and fears aren’t on the schedule. Thanks for sharing your heart. :)

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Thank you, Sudea!

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Becky September 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm

We just had this night last night because of preschool nerves. Those cuddles mean all the world.

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Dana Michelle of Eclectic Kitchen Evolved September 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Kari,
To say I was moved by this would be a total understatement. I am still crying as I write you. I beg you, I seriously beg you, write down everything, take pictures every chance you can. Take & savor every moment. Never miss an opportunity, if you can help it to have those moments. Tomorrow is promised to no one. I lost my daughter 4 years ago, 3 days before her 23rd birthday & one week before her scheduled college graduation. So I cry now, reading this, for all those times, I missed with her. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of moments, but it doesn’t matter if you get every single second, of their life…it will never be long enough to her if you leave or especially to you, if God forbid she does. Yes, love your children, well.

Thank you for writing this. In love & peace,
Michelle

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Kari September 12, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Oh Michelle. I am so, so sorry for your loss and cannot even imagine your pain. Thank you for taking the time to read, grieve, write to me here, and encourage us with your experience. Praying for you right now that you are comforted and encouraged. Bless you, Michelle!
Kari

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Kim September 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Beautifully written. Thank for sharing your experience and perspective – it is easy to forget those things when your day is pulling you in a million different directions. When that happens, I am so often annoyed if my children need something extra. This is a great reminder that no matter what else is going on, NOTHING is more important than letting them know that I am there for them.

What a wonderful thing to be thankful for having the time to ‘just be there’ when needed.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Thank you, Kim!

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Monique September 11, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Thank you for reminding me why I stay home with my children. I have a five year old daughter and 2 year old twin boys. Some days are good but some can be a struggle to get through. Thank you for sharing!

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Oh yes, we all have our struggle days! Hang in there, girl! You’re doing great work!

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Lee September 11, 2013 at 10:38 pm

What an eye opener!! Wish we could all keep our childish innocence and our sense of wonder.

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Carien September 12, 2013 at 10:57 am

Thank you, I needed to read this now. I lie with my 2-year old son every night until he’s asleep. But I’ve reached a point where I felt it takes up too much of my time as I’m with him during the day as well. So I was going to start leaving him to fall asleep by himself, though it might be a tearful situation. After reading your post I’ve changed my mind and will allow him to decide for himself when the moment of this independence must happen.

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tanna September 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

My daughter is 8 months old and she had grown too quickly. I try and cherish every moment I have with her. This made me cry. It is truly beautiful. now it is time to go make a list. Thank you for sharing this!

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Nicole Amsler September 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Beautifully written. I have spent many nights holding our four year old as he struggled to sleep.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Thank you, Nicole!

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Deb September 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Kari, My “babies” are 41, 32 and 29. I cherish memories of late night bedtimes. It seems all comes out at bedtime. Love this post.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Ah…well done, mama! You raised ‘em and gave them great memories of bedtimes! Thank you.

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Karen September 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm

This tugged at my heart strings and helped me realize that maybe I did an OK job raising my two boys who are now 21 and 18. The youngest just left for college and I miss him more than anything. I felt guilty when they were young that I didn’t spend enough time just “being” with them…there was always something to do even though I was a stay at home mom….pick up the house, make meals, laundry. But we always managed to cuddle at night, whether we talked or just snuggled, it was a special time together. Well, my freshman in college came home this weekend, and when he finally managed to get himself to bed he asked for me to come in his room and just “hang”. It was the best feeling in the world to know that, yes, he still needed his mom. Enjoy these little moments, they are truly the big ones!

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm

This is wonderful! I pray that my Littles become Bigs who still want to hang with their mama! Thanks for your comment.

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Tara September 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm

This brought tears to my eyes!!

I’m a single mom with a 7-year-old who still co sleeps!! I wouldn’t have it any other way!! I love snuggling her to sleep!

Write down everything! I’ve kept a journal since the day I found out I was pregnant! I never want to forget the big & little things!!!

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Thank you, Tara! I will!

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Momto3boys September 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I love this post. I have a 16 yr old son who still comes in a few nights a week and gets his back scratched while we talk. No matter what happened that day or if he was mad at me, this is always the time that everything is forgotten and I get to hear what is really happening in his life. I cherish this as much as the stories I read to my 6yr old and the deep conversations with my 14 yr old. it doesn’t matter their age, cherish EVERY moment you can with them.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Thank you! Oh I pray I still get to have wonderful conversations when mine are teens! Praying for that.

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Anjalee September 13, 2013 at 2:00 am

Thank You so much for this- it brought a tear to my eye- how fast our children grow up we are usually so preoccupied with “life” that we tend to forget what is so important.. that is why I recently changed careers to spend more time with my 3 precious beautiful angels- wonderful gifts from God <3

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 6:24 am

Good for you, Anjalee!! Bless your time with your little angels!!

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Trish September 13, 2013 at 2:10 am

My son is 9, and he says things like this to me all the time, I never want to forget, I will always remember, you have convinced me, to write it all down, for him, and his future children, I am an older mum to this one so I will be gone long before he is ready for me to be. My other 3 kids are 22, 19 and 18 the eldest has a child now too… life passes in a flash! Thank you!

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 6:24 am

Oh Trish, your comment brought tears to my eyes. You are such a tender, precious Mama to be thinking ahead for your son, gathering memories that he can cherish and hold. Bless you, dear Mama!!!

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marcela September 13, 2013 at 4:20 am

Thank-you for this! It made me cry. I´ve just breastfed my toddler to sleep and had an emotional day yesterday. It was first day of playgroup and even though I stay with her, it still marked a new chapter. My tiny baby is now a toddler and we have started venturing out to make new friends. Our lazy, pyjama mornings at home are already over. I pray to live a long life and be with her for as long as this life allows me. That´s all I want now that I am a parent.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Aw…what a sweet season Marcela! Good work!

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Janita September 13, 2013 at 6:59 am

This is beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes. My baby is almost 5 months old and a lot of my family is still very old fashioned – “Don’t let him sleep in your bed or he might never leave and you will have no privacy” or “Don’t pick him up if he cries unless you have to or he will become spoilt” but this reminded me just why I will hold him, kiss him and cuddle him as much as we want – because before I know it, he will be all grown up and I will miss these days.

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Janita September 13, 2013 at 7:05 am

And thank you for encouraging me to do something precious for my son to treasure someday (and other kids I may have). I will take some time to find a beautiful journal and write down cute things he does and says and I plan to give it to him at some special time when he is all grown up, so that we can remember, together. :) Bless you and your babygirl!

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Thank you so much, Janita! YOU are the one who knows what is right for that baby! I pray you have peace and clarity for all the decisions today and ahead… Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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suzy September 13, 2013 at 8:22 am

amen…… all we can do is hope that enough time is given to stay with them as long as they need us…. thinking about parents who’s time was there before their kids were able to stand on their own feet makes me so sad…… parents lives taken in wars, leaving children, just as tiny, sweet and helpless as ours, all by their selves…. peace and love, that is what saves us…. thanks for the reminder Kari.

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Thank you, Suzy. Those things break my heart too. Cherish every day.

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Anya September 13, 2013 at 8:22 am

Thank you for posting this! Our bed time has been stretching longer an longer lately. I have begun struggling with the idea that I was doing something wrong. This helped me remember that he simply needs me there a bit more right now. Whatever he is going through, I’ll be there, whatever time it takes!!!! Thank you!!!

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Joanne September 13, 2013 at 8:51 am

Wait… so how old is this child that sucks her thumb enough to loosen her teeth but doesn’t have baby teeth?

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

She’s only 4. And from that night forward she hasn’t sucked her thumb again! And no, we’re not worried about her teeth. ;)

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Cindy September 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thank you for this. xoxo

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Thank you, Cindy.

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rosemary perry September 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

This is so true – you know when they really need you – just you! It is a feeling no parent can ever forget. Their little minds are always going full force and they sometimes have to let it all out so we can understand and comfort them. No time tables apply!

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Kari September 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Amen! Thanks so much, Rosemary.

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Jenna September 13, 2013 at 7:54 pm

So beautiful. thank you for this post. bedtimes can be such a frustrating battle at our house with my 6 year old and 2 year old. Thank you for reminding me how quickly this time will be gone and to slow down and be present with my kiddos. So glad to have discovered your blog. Absolutely love your “sacred mundane” tagline. Blessings.

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Kari September 14, 2013 at 6:58 am

Oh yes, frustrating indeed. Sometimes I have great perspective, other times … not so much. :) Hang in there, girl!

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Jeana September 13, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Bed-time Visits. This is what my youngest son and I call them. We would often “visit” after bath and before bed for hours, even until one of us nodded off! Even now our best visits are while sitting/laying on a bed :)

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Kari September 14, 2013 at 6:58 am

Love it. Precious bedtime visits. Good for you!

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Jill September 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Such a beautiful post! I learn so much about my kids at bed time. It is when they really talk. When the peace has come over the house and when the fears and uncertainties start to creep in. Like the other mom’s with kids in college I wonder where the time went. Some days I long for the simplicity of having my babies again. Not that it was simple but the innocence is what I miss. I love the fact that my kids want me to hang with them in their rooms when they come home from college and my 15 yo son still wants me to tuck him in at night. I always do, even if I fall asleep before him, because I find out so much about what is going on in his life. Not every night is a big reveal, but we both go to sleep secure in knowing someone has our back. He told me yesterday he was so glad we have each other because so many kids have really crazy parents. I’m far from perfect, but I respect my kids. Thank you for the reminder to all of us to stop and really see and listen to our kids.

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Jen B September 18, 2013 at 3:04 am

With my 5-year old daughter dealing with the big recent changes of having a newborn baby brother and starting Kindergarten, within a couple months of each other, I so needed this reminder. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

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Philip September 20, 2013 at 10:00 am

Onions! Who cut the onions?

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Kari September 20, 2013 at 11:27 am

Ha! Took me a minute… ;) Thanks for reading.

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Michael - DearHarrison.com October 5, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Thanks for this an excellent and well-written post. Children can be so proficient in their ability to help us simplify our complex lives, to make us refocus on what is truly important. What a blessing to have their clear eyes helping us to see things in a different way.

My wife and I are awaiting our first little girl (as it happens, her due date was today, but she’s still cooking apparently). My son has taught me so much, but I’m interested to see the important things of life through a little girl’s eyes, too.

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Kari October 9, 2013 at 6:24 am

Ooh, I bet you have your daughter by now! How exciting. Congratulations, Michael–all the best as you welcome your new blessing!

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Beth October 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

And I picture my Father doing this…. how he longs to, and how I have shut him out….

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Kari October 9, 2013 at 6:25 am

Oh Beth, I pray you would not shut Him out right now! Yes, He does long to just snuggle with you and hold you and love you. Praying for you right now.

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Amalfi Elibo October 7, 2013 at 8:53 am

Your words are of comfort for me. I am going through the normal process of temporary, yet everyday separation from my child. My story is not an extraordinary one, I am a single mother of one child. I need to support him, yet my heart is broken every time when I leave him and go to work. Your words let me know that is okay to hold him in my arms until he falls asleep, that I am not spoiling him!! Thank you. God bless you

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Kari October 9, 2013 at 6:26 am

Oh, dear girl so sorry, that must be so hard. You are a good Mama and as you pour out your life and heart for this child and pray for Him God will be faithful. Praying for you right now!

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Angie October 9, 2013 at 5:38 am

I got an email address for each of my kids and try to email them often about silly things we did, their hard days and my hards days. I will give them the password when they are old enough. I got this great idea from a google commercial a couple years back. I also gave the address out to our family so they can send memoirs as well.

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Kari October 9, 2013 at 6:27 am

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

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Judy October 17, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Kari, what a wonderful insight you have on parenting at such a young age! I am 65 and I felt this way with my children and now even more so with my grand babies. Time is short….slow down and enjoy the very few minutes you have your children in your arms!

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Betty Patterson October 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

i am in the postion of help raise a grand daughter after 3 boys it is so different I do write all the things she does and say down in a journal she will have as she grows because it is not gaunteed that i will be there when she is 14 or forty I have plans to be but now i do Gods will and try to follow his plan

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Gicquel October 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm

So wonderfull.

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Lisa Wills November 20, 2013 at 5:01 am

Amen! My babies are 22, 18, and 14; time flies faster each year! Good Lord willing, I’ll get to do it all again with my grandkids! : )

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The Crunchy Mama November 20, 2013 at 7:23 am

I love bedtime with our 3 boys (ages 8, 6 and almost 4)! We read, we pray, we share our hearts until we all fall asleep. I will NEVER regret that time well invested.

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Kari November 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Amen!

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Joan Berrios November 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I am a puddle right now! What a beautiful, loving story. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. But I can tell that the love of a mother is forever. Pals pray for me because I have lost that magic relationship with my daughter.

I yearn for her love but she is distant and non responsive. I wish our relationship was different. Thanks for your story. God bless. .

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Kari November 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Praying for you right now, Joan–and for your daughter. Thank you for your honesty and sharing a bit of your life here. Every blessing!

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Heather November 21, 2013 at 5:49 am

I’m a new mommy, my daughter Zoey is 3 months old. This post helped me to keep the perspective of savoring each moment with her. Thank you for being real and opening your heart. I feel as though I grabbed a cup of coffee and snuggled into a soft blanket on the couch. :) Motherhood sure is a transition that I’m finding has become my new “normal.” I love it though, amidst the crazy, the happy, the frustration, and the wonder. It sure is amazing how a child can melt your heart faster than your frustration can take root! Blessings to you and yours!

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Kari November 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Ahh…thank you for sharing this Heather! SO glad you came along at this time, and pray you are BLESSED as you transition into this new season. it is exhausting, no doubt about it! You can do it!

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Alicia November 21, 2013 at 6:08 am

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. This is what is missing in so many families – not necessarily by their choice. A stable family, with the ability to have that time to give up, without having it on the schedule, is so important. Every child should have that.

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Kari November 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Thank you, Alicia!!

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Libbie George November 21, 2013 at 8:29 am

Bedtime has always been a struggle for my 13 month old, ever since LITERALLY he was born. Recently, within the last five months, I’ve been embracing it. The way he curls up next to me and breathes deep…so safe, and so secure. What a precious moment, and how beautifuly you have captured it in words :)

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Kari November 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Ahhh…those precious moments. Thank you for your kind words, Libbie!

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Maria Adams November 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

I was so touched by your note, your daughter is so blessed to have you as her mother. All too often children are not taken such good care of. You are such a wonderful parent. I pray my grandson’s mother is near as attentive as you .

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Kari November 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Thank you, Maria.

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Liz Barber November 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm

So beautiful! Thank you for sharing that sweet moment and awesome truth you experienced with your daughter. She is precious and you are an awesome mama!

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Kari November 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Thank you so much, Liz!

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Beverly Miller November 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I loved reading this! My daughters are grown with children of their own and this brought me back to when they were little. There were several nights each girl needed extra hugs or was worried and needed to be reassured by me. You are so right that we need to embrace those cherished moments because they children grow up so quickly. Thank you for making this mother have some joy tonight reminiscing about that precious time when my girls were small.

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Kari November 22, 2013 at 5:54 am

Oh, thank you Beverly! What a joy that you have raised your daughters well–you are an encouragement to those of us in the trenches! :)

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Carolyn November 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Kari, after I read this, I thought of my daughter, she has 3 precious girls, and works a lot of hours, she is also a single parent and is tired all the time, I know she can’t spend quality time with her girls who are 12,11,and 4, I have them when she works they stay 2 nights a week with me, and cry alot because they tell me that they want me to live forever because they wouldn’t know what to do without me, it breaks my heart, they love their mommy so much, but can’t get much time with her, I wish I could get her to see the importance of this, before you know it they will be grown, anyway please pray for her and her kids. I love you Blog.

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Kari November 22, 2013 at 5:56 am

Absolutely, Carolyn. I am praying for her right now. I bet those girls know how much she loves them. I pray they feel safe and secure in your and her love, and most of all—in God the Father’s love. Thank you for sharing this.

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Vonda Livingston November 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

This is absolutely beautiful! I have 3 girls, (2, 5 & 6) and the meltdowns are inevitable, :) but thank you so much for the reminder to slow down. I have been trying to do much more of this in the last year and not rush through the bedtime routine. I look forward to following your blog. Blessings!!!

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Kari November 22, 2013 at 5:56 am

Thank you, Vonda! We all need the reminder, OFTEN! (I do!) So glad you are here and staying for the journey; it’ll be great to get to know you! Love, Kari

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Sonya November 22, 2013 at 6:29 am

I don’t have children but that was absolutely beautiful

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Debbie November 22, 2013 at 8:18 am

And then they do grow up and with any luck, you’re still around to enjoy them as adults, raising their own little ones with the love and patience and knowledge that you taught them by being there and loving them. And they come to you still, when they feel too overwhelmed with their lives and responsibilities for advise, and the deep love and understanding that they know they will always find in the love of their own mother. No matter how old they are, they will always need your love and assurance that they are doing a great job being a mother.

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Peggy Wright November 22, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I really enjoyed reading this story.

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CK November 22, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Oh you are such a magnificent writer!! I have a daughter too and she is just 5 months almost 6, oh my how time flies. I really enjoyed reading your post just to remember to cherish every snuggle. I am a working mom and breastfeed partially, and so I enjoy feeding her in the morning and at night and having that closeness with her. I look forward to weekends and nights and I am not a fan of Sundays anymore because that means that I have to go back to work and miss my baby. Someone put it into perspective for me when she was a newborn and woke up every hour or two to feed, they told me to enjoy every minute because they grow up so fast. I am so thankful for her advice and your post was just a wonderful reminder, the writing down every detail I do need to do that cause she brings so much joy by every little smile and chuckle that she brings. Your post made me think of the book by Robert Munsch “I will love you forever”. I thank God for my daughter and for the time we spend together :)

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Karen November 22, 2013 at 11:09 pm

This was beautiful. Thanks. But also…we’re in the tooth fairy phase right now. And those teeth WILL fall out! My daughter cried about it in advance too because she’s easily worried. Friends had started losing their teeth and she was scared for it to happen to her.

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LH November 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm

This really spoke to me today. My daughter is almost 2, and she is getting to that phase where nothing goes right some days. We have had a very frustrating day where she wanted to be held and nursed all throughout the day. I had a lot of things I needed to get done, but none of them got done because I sat with her while she did everything today because she didn’t want me to leave her side. This was a great reminder that sometimes that is okay.

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Gina November 24, 2013 at 7:58 am

Crying for all the times I did and all the times I didn’t. Thank you deeply dear Kari for this reminder because the tears for the times I did are so much sweeter…and let’s all forgive ourselves for the times we didn’t.

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Barbara November 24, 2013 at 8:16 am

There’s nothing as precious as tuck-in time, especially when two have launched and are in college, leaving just Joshua behind. He’s the one who used to use tuck-ins to stall bedtime … and now that he’s a teen, well, … stall away! Thank you for your lovely parenting post. Be blessed!

Barbara

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FRIDA KIGUELMAN November 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

This was beautiful. I have been recently going through a 5 year old that doesn’t want to stay alone in bed, for reasons she can’t yet explain. A lot of times I stay with her until she falls asleep and I have to be honest that sometimes I plead with her to just go to sleep. This really helped me see that the times I stay with her are so WORTH IT. Who knows when I’ll have this time again, each moment is so precious. Thank you so much for sharing this story. And thank you for the inspiration.

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Angela November 26, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Amazing that I would read this today. The day I wrote about my daughter turning 14 and she is just like you said with the brown hair and round cheeks and head thrown back in laughter. The time went by so fast and I want desperately to remember and hold on to the child years without keeping her from becoming. It’s all in God’s plan and in His time but I would tell my young mother self that it is true: Even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time, a moment can take forever (especially when loss of sleep is involved) but the years fly by. Keep snuggling your precious girl.

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Zoe November 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I just wanted to say what joy I have found in this post. Beautiful. I am moved to tears; I’m having a tough time with my little 8 month old at the moment but this has just really inspired me. I’ve decided I want to start a book of things I want him to read when he’s older :) and to treasure every moment with him! So thank you..

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Jasalyn Thorne November 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Nothing but tears…My daughter has been asking us to cuddle her to bed…I think I might, just a little while longer now :)

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Ryan's Mom December 1, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Very touching. I have often done that with my son. He’s now 8, and he still has fears and anxieties that he just needs Mom to listen and cuddle with in bed before he goes to sleep. A little extra love and time to allow him to calm his fears and maybe realize that what seemed bad, really wasn’t. All kids, no matter how young or how old, just need some time, understanding and a good hug sometimes.

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Kari December 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Amen!! Thanks for sharing!

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Barbara Peavy December 2, 2013 at 7:47 am

Absolutely beautiful. Make sure you write everything down for her, because as the years speed forth you will forget all the little words spoken. What a beautiful journal for her to read later in years.

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Elissa December 3, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Thank you for this. I’ve been struggling lately with how long bedtime seems to take with my toddler, but this is a beautiful reminder that he is a gift, as is the time I am given with him.

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Emily December 5, 2013 at 7:24 pm

My mom sent this to me and I can’t stop crying. As a woman going into grad school, with still a lot ahead of me but with the thought of children in my future I find myself treading a fine line between childhood and adulthood. What kind of mother do I want to be? Perhaps that’s not so hard: like my mom. The kind of mother who would do this sort of thing, to hold me and tell me that life was going to be alright. To go from a parent to a friend. She made so many sacrifices for me (and still does). Thank you for writing this. It reminded me of what she was like when I was a child and how much I appreciate her for the woman she is and how she cares for me. :) Bedtime was some of the precious time I spent with my mother. I’m so glad she didn’t let it go to waste.

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Claire December 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Touched my heart. Thanks for posting this.

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Michelle December 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm

This line: “When I’m all grown up will you write down a list of all the things I did when I was little? So I can always remember?” This is exactly why I started Project Life. It’s a bit of work, but I’m so glad I did because now I have MORE than just photos, I have stories of our daily life to share with him and for him always to remember. Beautiful post!

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Michele December 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I am 59 and have no children of my own. Still, I wanted to thank you for this. You reminded me of the relationship I had with my mother. Despite the fights, arguments and buttons pushed, her love and comfort were always there for me. I lost her 9 years ago but feel her around me right now. Thank you.

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Brendel February 12, 2014 at 8:52 am

I have just stumbled upon your blog and I love it. This post was beautiful and the tears were streaming down. How quickly time goes and how important it is to listen to our littles. Thank you for sharing this!
Blessings,
Brendel

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