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The Gift of Time

This jumped out at me as I scrolled through Instagram yesterday...

"To a child, love is spelled T-I-M-E. "

Young children spend the majority of their energy in their waking hours demanding time from their parents. Babies ask for time in the only way they can: crying, sometimes desperately, for the time and attention of their parents. At other times they cackle and coo and delighted parents engage in the only "Facetime" that really matters. Toddlers will crawl into our laps when their seemingly endless energy is in need of a recharge.

We make a huge investment of time in our children. It seems like we never get a moment to ourselves....little ones require ALL our time. That time spells love to them.

Changing their diapers, laughing as they play in the bathtub, mopping up their messes, helping with homework and kissing their "boo boos" are all moments of investment in our lifelong love.

As children grow and become more independent, time with them is just as vital. Listening to the same stories, reading the same books and watching the same movies over and over again tells children you are always interested in who they are and what they are doing.

As a parent of two little birds who long ago left the nest, I realize the reverse is true for me now as well. "To a parent, love is spelled T-I-M-E. " My favorite times are time spent with my children.

I no longer tuck them in at night, or make breakfast for them every morning. I don't know all the details that fill their days with life, love, work and adventures. We fit in time between careers, graduate school, relationships and taking care of all the business that "adulting" brings. We still talk about our hopes and dreams, and all three of us know that we have each other as sounding boards when life fills us with a swarm of questions and challenges.

We rejoice together when one is happy and rally around each other when one is sad. Time with them is my greatest treasure. As they were growing up, there were many seasons when I worked two or three jobs to keep our family of three going. One year, Christmas was 5 gifts each from the dollar store. We were rich in other ways. If I could go back in time, I would stress LESS about the house being a mess or the piled up laundry and I would go to the park more.

I think about my mother, who launched 7 baby birds out of the nest and I know how much her children's visits mean to her. I will be the baby bird flying home next month to spend quality time with my mom. Across the generations of my family, Love is still spelled T-I-M-E.

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