“You should cherish every moment with your kids. They grow up so fast!”
Yup. Every overwrought parent has heard this well-meaning advice at some point. A Minnesota pastor named Steve Weins has a brilliant take on this.
The truth is, I don’t cherish EVERY moment with my daughter. And I’m OK with that.
I don’t cherish the moment when she’s kicking me (hard) and won’t stop no matter how many times I tell her it’s not nice to kick or hit someone. (Apparently nonviolence is an acquired taste.)
I don’t cherish the moment when she declares all-out war on me, all because I tried to put a pair of pants on her.
I don’t cherish the moment when she won’t listen and I have to put her on the step for a few minutes and walk away — mostly for my sake.
Don’t get me wrong. I cherish a lot of moments with my child.
I cherish the moments when we sit together on the couch early in the day, neither of us quite ready to accept that another morning already is upon us.
I cherish the moments in between when I get done working and when I take Elizabeth upstairs for her bath. During those few, fleeting hours my only responsibility is pretending to be a frog hopping around the house, swinging her in circles while U2 plays in the background (did I mention my kid has good taste in music?), or chasing Elizabeth around the dining room table.
I cherish the moments when she asks me if I want to play a game with her or read to her or just sit with her, or when she tells me out of the blue that she loves me.
More than any one moment, however, I cherish my daughter. I cherish who she is, who she’s becoming, and the journey there.
So I get it. I really do. I just think it’s an unrealistic burden to make yourself cherish every moment.
Besides, the fact that not every moment is a cherish-able one is what makes the moments that are worth cherishing so meaningful.
The fact that my daughter’s not a perfect little angel 24/7 (and believe me, she’s not, despite her grandparents’ insistence otherwise) helps me to appreciate the moments when she is. It helps me to seek and savor as many cherish-able moments as I can share with her.
If everything in life went just the way we wanted, we’d have a much harder time appreciating any of it. (That, by the way, is one of the points that a friend of mine makes in this wonderful little book.)
So I will cherish my daughter. I will make the most of my life with her. But I won’t beat myself up for not cherishing every moment… for sometimes needing to take a breath and walk away. And neither should you.