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I was driving home last night when my phone beeped to say I had a new e-mail.  At the time my mind was filled with my list of Things-To-Do and I was trying to ‘think ahead’ and create a plan for how I would tackle the list. As we all do, I pulled out my phone (that’s attached to me) and looked to see what it said. It was an e-mail from my oldest son, who’s 9.

He asked for his own e-mail after Christmas so he could send messages to his family. Despite my hesitation, I created it for him with a list of rules on how he could use his e-mail.

I opened the e-mail and found a short yet simple message, “I love you very much.” Be Still My Beating Heart…..

My sweet boy was sitting at home at that very moment sending me this e-mail and I was driving through crazy traffic with a million thoughts in my head trying to figure out how to accomplish the tasks and get them to bed on time so I could catch my breath.

I was so touched by his words that I forgot about my stupid list and instead focused on the short amount of time I would have with my three boys after I arrived home before they had to go to sleep. I started to think about how little time I spend with my kids where we enjoy true ‘quality time’ and how unfair it is they miss out on that quality time because of our crazy schedules and obligations.

Look around at the kids growing up today. How many parents leave their kids to raise themselves, handing out material things and money so their kids can occupy themselves and leave the parents to do their own thing? Look at what the parents are doing while their kids are at practice or a game for a sport they play. Are the parents fully present in the moment with their kids, encouraging them and cheering them on or are they lost in their Smartphone apps or a phone call or a book? More and more, it seems we are not fully present in the moments with our kids and our families. They grow up with ‘missing pieces’ and we wonder how it happened.

I want to be fully present in the moments I have with my kids before they are grown up and gone. I want to make the most of our limited time together between work, school and sleep. Learning to be present is harder than you think, though. I challenge you to do the same.

There is more to life than killing ourselves to make a living, fighting traffic and over-extending ourselves with obligations to others. If we race through life so that ‘one day’ we will have all the material things we want, we are going to get to ‘one day’ and find ourselves alone and full of ‘missing pieces.’ It’s the moments right here, right now, that will fulfill us in the ‘one day’  place.

Knowing how fast a life can be taken and how easily a heart can be broken, I don’t want to waste any more time worrying about ‘one day.’ I want to worry about right now. I want to make sure that when my day comes and God takes me from this earth, my children and my family will know they were number one in my life. Not my job or my obligations to anyone else.

Look at your average day and the amount of time your kids and family are together. Then ask yourself, do they have your full attention? Are you fully there, in that moment with them? Are you teaching them self-confidence, love, gratitude and instilling them with Faith? What messages are you teaching your kids? Are you leading by example? What ‘missing pieces’ will they grow up without?

Looking Back