The last tuck-in

When I tuck-in my son tonight, it will be his last tuck-in as a ten year-old little boy.

Many moms and dads know the feeling.  A few days before your child’s birthday, you start thinking thoughts like the following:

“Wow, this is the last week she will be five.”

“In a few days he will turn seven.”

“I can’t believe she is almost done with her first year of preschool.”

“Wow, this is the last night I will tuck him in as a ten year-old boy.”

Maybe you don’t have kids, but you are astonished at how rapidly your niece and nephew have grown since the last time you saw them.  

I believe that children are one of the biggest markers of time that God uses to grab our attention and to let us know that we are all rapidly hurtling towards eternity.  But regret, time-management, and getting ready for eternity is the topic of the post found here: https://permission2speakfreely.com/2018/05/24/time-flowing-like-a-river-to-the-sea-timely-thoughts-about-life-regret-eternity-and-benjamin-button/

The post that you are reading is about one line in a poem that has stuck with me since my son was a baby.  Here is a portion of the poem, with the velcro-line in bold.  

To My Grown-Up Son – by Alice E. Chase

My hands were busy through the day,

I didn’t have much time to play

The little games you asked me to,

I didn’t have much time for you.

I’d wash your clothes; I’d sew and cook,

But when you’d bring your picture book

And ask me, please, to share your fun,

I’d say, “A little later, son.”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night,

And hear your prayers, turn out the light,

Then tiptoe softly to the door,

I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

That’s the line that stayed with me so many nights when I was bone tired, and my husband was traveling, but Logan asked me to please read him another book.

That’s the line that lingered when I felt like ending the tuck-in early so I could go downstairs and binge-watch my favorite TV show.

That’s the line that haunted me after I was already downstairs watching said TV program and Logan would call to me in his sweet little boy voice and ask if I could give him another tuck-in.

“Fine,” I would say in a grumpy way.  But then that line would flash though my mind, and I would get my lazy butt off the couch and go give my kid some extra love.

Time is flying my friends, and there is very little you can do about it except enjoy each moment, take in certain details, and spend those extra moments soaking in the inconvenience of it all because it’s worth it in the end.

How is it worth it?  Because you will have no regrets.  You will always know you spent that extra few minutes with your kids throughout the course of their growing up years.

Honestly, that feeling of regret is probably the biggest reason I made a deliberate decision to be a stay at home parent.  I had a wonderful and “important” career on Capitol Hill that I gave up in order to stay home and shape my kids.

Do I regret it? No.  But sometimes I get a little jealous of my working mom friends, because they seem to have it all.  But then I know that I am right where God wants me: shaping and loving my three kids as a stay at home mom for the few short years I have them.

Time is flying!  And we are all getting older. Before you know it, your kids will be out of the house.  Take the time to spend with your kids right here, right now, tonight – before it’s too late.  Even if they are already teenagers or 20- somethings.

They still want you and need you, even when they are all grown up,

Don’t be like this Alice B. Chase lady who has deep regrets.  Pull a Benjamin Button on yourself and figure out what you might regret not doing with (and for) your kids, and for the love of so many things: do it!  

DO IT NOW.

In closing, a few quick ideas to get your started on that whole quality time love language thing:

Go visit your kids at school (during their lunch is a great time). 

Try to make it to all of their baseball/hockey/soccer/football games.  Be their biggest fan!

Take them with you when you run your errands. 

If they ask you to play with them, PLAY WITH THEM ON THEIR LEVEL. 

Read to them.  Take walks with them.  Bake and cook with them. 

Let them sit on your lap.  Look into their eyes.  

Tell them you love them!

When you tuck them in at night, give them an extra long tuck-in, because tomorrow they are turning 11.

Kids spell the word love: T I M E.  So give them that time that they need and deserve!  You will never regret it.  

My three beautiful kids, many moons ago. But I remember this moment like it was yesterday.

In closing, the poem in it’s entirety:

My hands were busy through the day,

I didn’t have much time to play

The little games you asked me to,

I didn’t have much time for you.

I’d wash your clothes; I’d sew and cook,

But when you’d bring your picture book

And ask me, please, to share your fun,

I’d say, “A little later, son.”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night,

And hear your prayers, turn out the light,

Then tiptoe softly to the door,

I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

For life is short, and years rush past,

A little boy grows up so fast,

No longer is he at your side,

His precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away,

There are no children’s games to play,

No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear,

That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands once busy, now lie still,

The days are long and hard to fill,

I wish I might go back and do,

The little things you asked me to.

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