“Okay, now you’re the teacher, and I’m the student.” The next-door girls are over and the kids are playing school in the living room. I’m in the kitchen, eavesdropping.

“But now I want to pretend like I’m 19 years old,” Tate announces.

“But this is third grade. This isn’t high school,” her friend reminds her. They discuss Act Two of their game for a bit, and decide to correct course onward to the teenage years. They’re still in math class, discussing three plus four. But now Tate can walk herself to school.

She’s been like this most of her life, wishing she were older. I remember standing on the balcony of our apartment overseas, discussing her wedding and honeymoon plans. She was four. She also reminds me weekly that when she becomes a teenager, she would like a hot pink laptop.

I was like this, too—in a darn hurry to hurry up with life. In elementary school, I couldn’t wait to walk the halls of middle school. By seventh grade, I was ready for my freshman year of high school. And by junior year, I was mentally decorating my first college apartment.

And of course, you know that by the fourth semester of college, I was wondering who I was going to marry. Those entry-level science classes made it easy to space out and mentally plan my bridesmaids’ bouquets. Whoever they’d end up being.

I didn’t marry right out of college, naturally. I went abroad for a bit, and it’s a good thing I did, because that’s where I met Kyle. But even there, I’d reminisce about the next step—coming home, getting married. I loved cross-cultural life, but I still yearned for the future. For the next thing.

During our pre-marital counseling, we predicted we’d wait about five years to have children. Of course, Tate was born a few months after our second anniversary.

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” -CS Lewis

When I became a parent, life started speeding by much faster. A child is born, I blink, and he’s crawling. I turn my head, and then he’s walking, talking, having opinions. And I hear from those a few years ahead of me that it’ll continually speed by at an alarming rate.

And yet, I still yearn for the day when there are no more diapers to change. When all my kids can read to themselves. When the walls aren’t splattered with the evening’s dinner.

But really? That’s exchanging one gift for another. These days I have now, they are precious, just like the ones I’ll have in a few years. Wishing them away is to miss the beauty right in front of me, encrusted countertop and all.

“We steal if we touch tomorrow. It is God’s.” -Henry Ward Beecher

Of course, we hope for heaven. We have good things waiting for us, and it’s good to wait eagerly for them. But we miss out on His gifts for RIGHT. NOW. if we wish for the next gift more than giving thanks for today’s.

Tate’s now playing LEGO, happy to be seven again. Her friends are discussing the benefits of having a household robot. Her younger brother runs into the room, because he has an opinion on the matter, too. The day is glorious, so in a few minutes, I think I’ll kick them out to the backyard, where they frequently play bakery, build forts, and wash their bikes.

“Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.” -Jean de la Bruyere

May they savor today, and enjoy the bounty of childhood. And may I take notes.

What are you savoring TODAY?

By Tsh, Simple Mom

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  1. 1

    What a great Henry Ward Beecher quote!

    You are so right about the blinking thing too- It is Christmas, I blink. It is summer, I blink. Throw in some birthdays and the next thing I know, it is Christmas again.

  2. 2

    It was only a few minutes ago, when the sixteen month was crying about her deb-bee-bear (teddybear) and Mr Accident took her hand and led her to find it, that I thanked God that currently her hurts are so easily solved.

    The present is awesome. I have a feeling our future will be too, but I’m content to wait.

  3. 3

    I always wanted to grow up so fast too, and now so does my first born. I’m expecting our third child now and I can see myself savoring each step of development more with each child we are blessed with.

  4. 4

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Moments of today are gone too quickly and we never get them back. Great reminder to slow down and just enjoy all the blessings God is giving us TODAY. I want to have this mindset as I prepare to have my first child in 3.5 weeks!

  5. 5

    You expressed what so many feel in today’s world. Rush, rush, hurry, hurry to the next big thing when the blessing of today is right before our eyes. I don’t wish to relive it (living in the past is just as bad), but I do hope to pass on the wisdom to young people and pray they may heed just a little of it – like you’ve done here. Have a blessed day.

  6. 6

    I’m savoring my husband having a day off. And the beautiful weather to enjoy it outside.

  7. 7

    I tend to live in the future too. I like how you described it as trading one gift for another. I’m going to slow down and open what God has for me today.

  8. 8

    I am due to have my third this Friday. I am wishing away this week every second because I want her out so bad. Thank you for reminding me to savor these last days as a family of four.

  9. 9

    Love how you said it is as trading one gift for another. I blinked for a moment and my oldest became a teen. Savoring each moment we have with each of our children. These years go by too fast.

  10. 10

    Beautiful….

  11. 11
    Anonymous says:

    ” The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” -CS Lewis I, too, am very much like you–wishing for “The next great adventure”–whatever it be a different job, weekend, going somewhere–But not really enjoying the present and being thankful for it.

    I have a thankful journal full of many, many items. Each day I add to it. I make an intentional effort to reflect on the day and what I’m thankful for–even the small stuff! It helps me see how blessed I am and to stop the whining!

  12. 12
    Beth Williams says:

    ” The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” -CS Lewis I, too, am very much like you–wishing for “The next great adventure”–whatever it be a different job, weekend, going somewhere–But not really enjoying the present and being thankful for it.

    I have a thankful journal full of many, many items. Each day I add to it. I make an intentional effort to reflect on the day and what I’m thankful for–even the small stuff! It helps me see how blessed I am and to stop the whining!

  13. 13

    That is a wonderful quote and your post is so true. I think it is good to have dreams, but I’ve found that if we focus too much on the future, we forget to enjoy what we have today. It is good to look at the present as a gift and truly enjoy it.

  14. 14

    Love this, Tsh. My daughter had pink eye this past week, and boy did I wish the week away. But they are not always this little!

  15. 15

    I think once you have kids, you realize that time really and truly flies :) I don’t want the days to go by fast because I know these moments are fleeting, and I want to savor each moment.

  16. 16

    This is something that I remind myself of so often. The present is so beautiful. Why keep wishing for the next step. One thing I have learned in multiple moves, is that part of living in the present is doing the things I find important, and decorating my home, etc, for now and not waiting until we are “settled” permanently.

  17. 17

    I just blinked and an hour went by while I ‘checked my email’…..ugh. My kids are 9 and 6 and I find myself desperately trying to slow things down. Everything is going way too fast for me and I feel like I am constantly playing catch up. Running around from activity to activity and looking for the peace amongst it. Maybe less time in front of the computer would help though!

  18. 18

    This was definately me growing up!!!!

    I find myself singing that country song, “It won’t be like this for long” when I’m rocking a screaming baby…because I have to constantly remind myself that the laundry can wait. Sometimes snuggling to “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” for the 30th time…is REALLY most important. :)

  19. 19

    This is the same msg that liberated me this past Easter weekend…I didn’t realise that for so many years I’ve wanted to live in a time other than the now! And when this thinking strengthens it becomes a stronghold. I prayed at the Good friday service for God to walk with me and liberate me by the power of his death and resurrection. I also asked a few close girlfriends to pray for me. And also went to confession – to particularly seek God’s forgiveness and to forgive myself. My breakthrough came on saturday! Praise God!

  20. 20

    Thank you for this post. Here’s what I thought . .
    To wish even for a moment, that the smallest, seemingly insignificant, mundane and also seemingly difficult-to-deal with issues were not as they are, is to wish away life. My life. It is, just as it is. All of it. Waiting in lines at stores. messy countertops. The disorganization in my home and mind that I can’t seem to get a handle on. Lego. on.the.floor. this is life. These make up the mere moments, and they are all just as they should be, a part of me. A part of my learning and growing. And I don’t want to wish a single moment away. Because when I wish my surroundings were different and I don’t accept myself and others just as they are. I wish away all the moments that make up my precious life. I need to embrace them all. And this is what I really want.

  21. 21

    I am savoring the sunlight falling on our ficus tree still decorated with the eggs my Grandma made back in the 70′s. I’m savoring the snuffled snoring of the dogs sacked out on the sofa. I’m savoring the saffron petals of the sunflowers on the table next to me. And, thanks to your post, I’m savoring my memories of the days when my teens were small, and my minutes were filled with legos, and picture books, and sleepless nights, and sticky fingers, and mommymommymommy…

  22. 22

    Hi Tsh,
    I just wanted to share I’ve downloaded your last few podcasts and have listened to them on my long runs. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

    Off to use these sixty minutes wisely.

  23. 23

    Couldn’t have said it better Tsh! I also have a grade schooler a pre schooler and a toddler and the days seem to fly by. Although my husband and I often fantasize about sleeping in on Saturday mornings with no kids climbing over us and no soccer games to run the kids to. I thoroughly enjoy this part of the journey. I wake up every morning grateful that I get to live this life. Organized chaos and all!

  24. 24

    Road trip w hubby puppy 23 yr old son who we dont c very often any more and 4 yr old son

  25. 25
    Jessica Waters says:

    I could not agree more. I always wanted my childhood to speed up and I couldn’t wait to be an adult and “do whatever I wanted”. Still now I am planning my wedding before my partner and I are even engaged. Sometimes I just need to reel myself in and savor the good things that are happening right now.

  26. 26

    Wow! What a wonderful post. I, too, have always been guilty of wanting what’s coming next rather than enjoying what’s in front of me. Seems just like yesterday I was lamenting having to stay up all night with my colicky daughter…and just last week, the two of us were on the road (she was driving) visiting colleges. She was the only 15-year-old in the crowd during our university tours. Maybe I’m still going to fast, maybe we’re still rushing things along. Wait, I need a minute to think about that.

  27. 27
    Candice Freeman says:

    I came across a quote on this in one of my recent reads, and then such a great clip/1minute video – the author refers to it as one of the Four Splendid Truths (Gretchen Rubin: The Happiness Project); “the days are long, but the years are short”…. http://www.theyearsareshort.com/….. Makes you sit up and realise that that THIS is it, the process is what is to be savoured, not the next milestone….

  28. 28

    Good way to say it, “trading one gift for another”. That thought always helps me re-align whether I’m worn out and wishing a day away or feeling sentimental and wanting to press the pause button. There are beautiful things (and annoying things) in every stage of motherhood/womanhood. When I’m at my best, I’m soaking in the good of today AND looking forward to the blessings unique to the stages of life still to come. P.S. I love the quotes you chose for this post. They are keepers.

  29. 29

    But really? That’s exchanging one gift for another. These days I have now, they are precious, just like the ones I’ll have in a few years. Wishing them away is to miss the beauty right in front of me, encrusted countertop and all.

    I loved this…. so true!

  30. 30
    Kristy says:

    Love the quote by Jean de la Bruyere. It’s so true. Especially now in the midst of a move, I just keep thinking about the future and how nice it’ll be to be settled again, etc. I need to be sure to enjoy these last days in our present location because soon they’ll be gone.

  31. 31

    Love it. As a mama of five I can attest that time goes by faster with each one! I fight to slow it down…fight to savor. And it is worth the fight. :)

  32. 32

    This reminds me of a post by Glennon on Momastery about Cronos time and Kairos time (http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/). After reading that post I became much more mindful of the Kairos time. Those little moments I want to freeze forever. It seems like time is going more quickly with my 2nd baby. I’m trying to keep savor ing those little moments of Kairos time– like when my 3 year old put on two hats at the same time yesterday and it caused the baby to bust out in peals of laughter.

  33. 33

    You are so right. As a parent of two there are certainly those moments when you want time sped up for either nap time or bed time later on that night. Something they have done is inconvenient and we become selfish. You gave me a great reminder and I’m glad tomorrow is a new day.

  34. 34

    I’ve always been like that too. And before my daughter was born, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be like that with her. But it’s difficult sometimes! It feels like she was born only a week ago but her second birthday is right around the corner.

    But she did teach me one thing: to slow down! From the moment she wakes up, her behavior tells me not to hurry. So what if she is a few minutes late for her daycare! So what if it takes ten minutes to walk to the garage? She takes her time to look at all the people walking / cycling / driving past and to smile and wave at them, bless her! I’ve never felt happier and healthier in my life!

  35. 35
    Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder. As I lay here in bed, catching up on my reading, I’m loving the sound of my three-year-old fast asleep next to me sucking her thumb. She’s been at grandma’s house for the past few days and I’ve missed her like crazy. And while I know she shouldn’t have crawled into my bed last night and that I do wish she’d stop sucking that thumb, I’m completely content and grateful that she’s next to me right now.

  36. 36

    So, much of what I’ve been contemplating was said here. But, one thing I have been thinking heavily about is that with each day that passes, i am one day closer to letting my children go. So, that helps me attempt to be more content and live in this moment.

  37. 37

    I’ve been thinking about this post since I read it yesterday. I used to be a “get to the future” person. Sometime in the last few years there was a shift and I became much more “present.” I am so much happier. I enjoy the people around me, the place where I am. I’m not sure what caused it, or that I even realized it for a while, but I’m so happy it happene. Love the CS Lewis quote.

  38. 38

    We steal if we touch tomorrow… How beautiful, love this quote! Frankly speaking, I’d deal with the dirty diaper for eternity just to have my kids small, and keep all of them by my side :)

  39. 39

    At my middle child’s 5th birthday I got quite upset because I kept thinking to myself that 5 years had gone so quickly and instead of enjoying that time I’d been working.

    Working for what? Well, towards our “future” which involved paying off our mortgage and retiring early. It struck me that we were saving for the future BUT we were sacrificing today. When this financially free future came our kids wouldn’t even be at home anymore. So, we did our sums and realized that our financial plan could go on hold for 5 years while we enjoyed the “now” with our kids – I would stay at home and hubby would work less.

    The verdict? We have no regrets! We’ve recently had a family member diagnosed with illness and this has reinforced to us how precious today is because guess what – tomorrow isn’t actually a certainty.

  40. 40

    This is an issue I have recently been working through myself. Just felt like life was rushing by too fast, and I wasn’t enjoying it like God meant for me to enjoy it. So, of course, I wrote about it to help flesh out my feelings. While it’s sort of in many of my posts, the two that stick out most are “Sunday Reflections – Anticipation” and “Sunday Reflections – 5 Principles for Focusing on the Now.” Not sure that I’m really too great at enjoying right now yet, but I am working on it. Your post was a help in that process.

  41. 41

    That was me as a kid, too, always wishing for the next stage of life. Now that my “babies” aren’t babies but 4 and 7, I am forever telling them to ENJOY childhood, not to rush towards grown-up-hood because, well, frankly, it’s just not all a bed of roses there. We try hard to emphasize living in the moment, but I need the reminders more than anyone! Thanks for this post, it makes me THINK.
    http://theminddoeswander.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/the-river/

  42. 42

    With my older kids leaving the nest and my baby just turning 8, I sure miss the cuddles and the little milestones made by chubby, grinning toddlers, and also the nursing, the diapers, and everything that went with it, and went so fast, even though we did it times 8. My problem now is fearing the future with its aging and problems, wasting ‘now’ in the process. It’s as bad as wishing the time away, because today doesn’t get it’s appreciation. My days are so full, I suspect of worries or things that don’t matter, that it gets to be a blur, and I’m trying to find some space and rest and time to look around.

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