By Karen Wilson

I love hearing how important it is to invest in our kids in the here and now, cherishing the moments because they go by so quickly. Being reminded of this makes me more intentional about the time I have with my young ones.

My family set aside time for some fun together this past weekend. All of us had this perfect picture in our heads about what it would be like. (Something like the picture above.) It’s funny how things don’t usually turn out the way we plan.

We packed our bikes up and headed to a beautiful local trail. My eight-year old’s tires were low on air. After only 10 minutes of riding, Elijah was miserable and complaining. This was not at all what he had in mind. I eventually snapped at him and told him to fall behind so I wouldn’t have to hear him whine. Dad had already ridden off to escape the negativity. Sara, my six-year old, was upset because we weren’t together in a pack­–as a family–which is what she had in mind.

Later that night, after Elijah’s team unexpectedly lost their first football game (another disconcerting event), we ordered pizza and started playing cards. A neighborhood kid came over and wanted to be included. When we included her, Elijah ran to his room upset because it was supposed to be just family time.

Through tears, he claimed that this day–which was supposed to be our perfect day–was the “worst of his life.” When you throw in all of the sibling bickering, it wasn’t my favorite day either.

We tend to be idealistic about what our family moments should be like. Even our kids are. Sometimes, they match our expectations, and sometimes they really miss the mark. But I’m still grateful for each of these moments, even with breakdowns and meltdowns. These are special imperfect moments that will be cherished forever.

It’s using those moments to teach our children to love each other and to love others while we as parents are learning to do the same. It’s being consistent and persistent even when things go awry. It’s being honest with each other about our imperfections and accepting and forgiving of them.

At the end of the weekend, my son told me I was the most perfect mom in the whole wide world. (Who doesn’t want to hear their little boy say that??) But I very quickly confessed that I was FAR from perfect. He almost as quickly agreed with me and admitted that he wasn’t perfect either. We were both okay with that and together acknowledged that’s why we rely on the One who is perfect. Now that was a moment I’ll never forget.

So, I am just going to keep doing what I know to do as a mom and continue to create and cherish moments with my kids.

  • I will linger as I tuck them in at night and try to listen as they tediously explain something, when all I really want to do is go crash on the couch.
  • I will occasionally go eat lunch with them in the school cafeteria, even though the noise and smell is unpleasant.
  • I will play with them when they ask, even though I don’t enjoy playing video games or make believe.
  • I will set the table and make family dinners happen more often even if sometimes they turn their noses up at what I cook.

And I will also make sure everyone’s tires are nice and plump before we go on our next bike ride.

What is something you will do this week with your kids? Add to the list!

Karen Wilson works at Orange. She is married to Mark and has two kids, Elijah and Sara.