Don’t Blink – You’ll Miss the Legos and Tinker Toys

That Kenny Chesney song, Don’t Blink, always makes me cry. I always change the station if I hear it on the radio.

From the time I was a little girl, I remember my dad would tell me how much he loved me. And I would say it back. And then he would say, “Janellen, I know you love me, but parents love their children in a way that’s different than any other kind of love. Someday…someday you’ll have your own kids, and you’ll understand.”

I wish he had lived to see me become a mom. I would tell him, now, “I get it, Dad. You were so right. Now I understand that love.”

Love is the most powerful force on the planet. Parental love is the most visceral.

I love hearing the words, “Wanna play,” come from my son. Sometimes I’m flat exhausted, sometimes there are dishes to be unloaded from the dishwasher, clothes to be folded, work to be done.

There will be a day when those words don’t come anymore. With our son, I believe that he’ll always love us and want to be with us, but in the natural and healthy course of life, other things will occupy him. And that’s okay.

So when I am unloading the dishwasher, I say, “Yes,” and he’ll wait for me to finish, but more recently, I’ve started to give him little jobs, a plastic bowl, wooden spoons to put away. If I’m working, he knows I need to finish, and he quietly plays in the same room. But then we play!

I believe it’s the important matters that should take precedence over the urgent. What do I mean? Thanks to my college minister, Bill Potts, I have always held this concept close to my heart. Someone will always be urgently knocking at your door, calling your phone, etc. And those urgent things will get done. However, your parents will also call. Your spouse will need to talk. Your child will want to play catch in the back yard, or need help with homework. Those are the important things because those are your relationships – your family. Those are the moments, where if you blink, you’ll miss them. And I think that is what that song is about with raising children: don’t blink. It’s a word of caution: don’t miss the important stuff. Building legos or playing dolls with your kid, especially when invited.

Mac said he was “working to get more money to buy a bunny and a kitten.” When we’re on our computers, we are working, so that’s his concept of earning, right now.

My mom always said, having a boy is finding tinker toys in your potpourri. There will be a day when the potpourri is perfect. When you don’t step on a stray LEGO. And you’ll miss it. So, don’t blink. Don’t miss the important things.

Roots and Wings

I am soaking up the quiet times and the squeals of excitement in these final days of summer; the Sepia afternoons of sunset and the crystal shimmer of the sea; the salty air that permeates my coastal life and the smell of succulent meats on our smoker in the backyard; the laughter that arises from play with our child and the quiet moments of our family together at the end of the day.

These late days of summer have been the sweetest of my life. Be present! Don’t miss these moments. I want to be fully aware and in the moment I am in and fully enjoy the sounds, sights, smells, and feelings all around.

The only constant in life is the inevitability of change. My son’s world is about to explode into the beauty of friends and school and learning, and I am so grateful. These summer days are drawing to a close where his realm of influencers will reach beyond the walls of our home – to teachers and friends. With that naturally comes a mother’s celebration, and a slight, momentary mourning: we will no longer be his everything. But, that is okay. We will always be his loving parents.

We have given him roots, and now we are about to give him his first real set of wings: school days. What an amazing adventure it is to be a parent! I am grateful. And I am actively working on being present.

I hope you are enjoying your summer and wherever you are in life, you are present. Whatever is happening in the ebb and flow, you’re able to know when to establish roots, or when set forth in flight.

Blessings,

J.

Sweet Morning Moments

I was up at 4 am to get my workout in. Really, to get started back in a workout routine. After my workout and shower, I was ready for an hour of writing before getting my family up for school and work.

I had my tea made. I had my laptop open to my most recent chapter of my novel, and then I heard it.

The doorknob rattling in surround-sound.

The volume on our baby monitor is up so that I can hear my son if he wakes up and opens his door in the middle of the night. He always closes the door behind him, so I always hear a rattling and shutting, as I heard it at 5 a.m. this morning.

I turned around and saw his near 3 ft. silhouette standing at the end of the hallway and started running toward me. Forgetting the computer, my tea, and writing goals, I knelt down and opened my arms to embrace his morning hug. I turned everything off, sat down on the couch with him, and we watched his nursery rhyme YouTube channels. His new favorite is woodland creatures in a snowy forest singing Jesus Loves Me. We played it on repeat.

I know, very well, there will be a morning when I have hours to write. My boy will be off playing at a friend’s house, off to camp, off to college, so I treasure every moment with him.

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Mac Attack playing at our neighborhood park.

Being an older parent of a toddler has many blessings. I have years under my belt and a different appreciation for life than what I had at twenty. I’m not knocking twenty, but I still had my entire family alive and well at twenty. Now, most of them have passed away. That sort of loss changes you. Yet, with the difficult comes much good. Through all that, now I’m married to the love of my life, and we have a beautiful little boy.

My sweet morning moments: my well-rested son running out of his bedroom in the early morning hours into my arms. Now that’s a great way to start my day!

Gratefully,

J.