If you could relive a single day what would it be? A month after my son’s wedding, I’d chose
a magnificently ordinary day:
He would be 5 or 6, young enough to still call me Mama. Old enough to ride bikes to the
library. We’d rifle through the new books and admire the fish. Afterwards, we’d stop for ice
cream and spin on the twirly stools. Even now I can smell the sweet, earthy scent of his
sweaty summer forehead. We’d play trains up in his room with the glistening wood floors
and red curtains.
I wouldn’t rush. I wouldn’t disrupt our make-believe world to take care of laundry or bills or
dinner. I’d see how long we’d go building viaducts for Thomas and Percy. And I wouldn’t
rush when it was time to tuck him in. I’d say, like always, “Two books tonight.” Like always,
he’d negotiate. “How ‘bout five?” And instead of saying, “Only three,” I’d say, “Five it is!”
And after the fifth I’d reach for a sixth. And his eyes would take on that impish twinkle and
we’d read that silly book called Underwear! and he’d fall into that infectious laugh that
shook his whole body to the point he’d sometimes fall out of his chair. I wouldn’t rush.
The truth is some days I did rush, counting the minutes until bedtime and skipping the story
altogether. We know we should enjoy every stage of our child’s life, but sometimes we’re
too tired to treasure the moment.
How can we learn to slow down and embrace this season? To number our days as parents
with children at home? By keeping the big picture in mind …
Seasons are short. That heap of shoes by the door, and the jam fingerprints spotting the
cupboard, will eventually disappear. We can embrace this particular season (whether it’s
endless questions from a four-year-old or heated debates with a fourteen-year-old),
knowing that in a year from now, things will be very different. Our kids are temporarily ours
and permanently God’s. We’ve got one shot, not at perfection, but at being front and center
in our child’s everyday life. As they grow and eventually leave us, we step further off to the
The investment is eternal.
What we do matters. The bible stories we read, the prayers we utter for and with our
children, God takes our efforts and multiples them. It’s easy to lose sight of eternity in the
nitty-gritty of now. Imagine your child is all grown up. What do you want him to know most
of all? To carry in his mind and heart for the rest of his life? It’s probably not how to tidy a
room, or excel in sport or academics. We parent so that our kids might come to know the
good, good, grace of God through Jesus. Do they know this is our priority? Do we talk about
how important our salvation is to us? Demonstrate the joy of our salvation? As they mature,
do we let them see how we run to God with our failings?
We can’t slow or speed time. Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice, parents,
and be glad in it!
Rachel is a mum of two who writes for Faith in Kids and serves on ReachGlobal’s London
team. For her books and blog go to rachelallord.com