Recognizing “Gifts of Time” Blogpost #48

Have you ever heard of the phrase “gift of time?” 

  • One of my favorite gifts that my sisters and I have given in the past for one another is to schedule a “gift of time.” Instead of buying toys for each other’s kids for Christmas, one year we took everyone for bowling and pizza. Those two hours at the bowling alley are treasured memories that last longer than anything we could have purchased for one another.  
  • In my former position as an instructional coach, when working through adopting a new curriculum, we carved out unexpected pockets of work time for teachers. We referred to it as a “gift of time.” This time was a much needed chunk of time to knock out necessary tasks from never ending teacher to-do lists. 
  • Another way I have heard the phrase “gift of time” used as an adult refers to the moment when you thought you had an activity to go to, but the other person going with you can’t make it anymore. My introverted friends might cheer when this happens. 🙂 This unexpected gift of time can feel like a Godsend of breathing room in our jam-packed schedules.  

Image Credited Hedger Humor from Babble

In this season, our family is learning that sometimes a “gift of time” is the clarity that comes from slowing down long enough to recognize how much our kids are changing. As I continue to heal from surgery, I’m choosing to see this forced “gift of rest time” as an opportunity to notice the small, but significant ways that our children are maturing.

Usually, I am the parent who does most of the running back and forth to the kids’ activities and my husband stays back to take care of our other kids. In this season, as I’m forced to stay home and rest, I am finding myself soaking up these unique moments.

  • With Kaden, I am enjoying uninterrupted 1:1 moments with him while Nathan takes the big kids to school in the morning. Kaden has developed a new fascination with animation and drawing. What started out as a multitasking experiment to see if I could catch up on the day’s Bible Recap and Bible Project video while we ate breakfast, has turned into a new daily rhythm. Kaden specifically asks for me to play the “Bible drawing videos” each time we eat breakfast. The things he notices in the videos encourages my heart with how he is growing in his faith! Then, he looks forward to sitting at my desk and creating new drawings from Art Hub 4 Kids before he leaves for school (He calls this his “Art Club.” It’s so adorable when he says it that I can’t make myself correct him. :)). This is the same kid who refused to hold a crayon or pencil last February! [I blogged about this resource as a way to grow handwriting stamina. I love how Ethan and Kaden have both grown stronger handwriting skills through drawing!] 
  • With Ethan, we fully enjoyed reading the first Dragon Masters book together. I knew that he was growing as a reader, but when he read the word “explosion” without hesitation, I thought to myself, “I’m so glad I was able to snuggle up with him and hear this first hand.” When I asked him how he figured out the word, he nonchalantly replied, “It’s like the word ‘fusion’ on my Nintendo Switch game.” Ethan is such a humble boy that he didn’t realize that this is a big deal for a first grader! He has such a neat level of word awareness.
  • With Juliana, we are exploring new strengths and passions for her as she makes her own candles and beauty products. Her rose lip gloss is my favorite so far! Every time I talk with Juliana, I’m reminded of her ever increasing vocabulary. We often joke that she is our child who is 9 going on 30, but it’s still surprising to see how she communicates her ideas so articulately.
  • With Mackenzie, I am watching her childhood slowly fade away as the teenage years are approaching sooner than we would like to admit. One night, we had some interrupted time together to talk about the youth group trip she went on during Christmas break. As she was sharing, she told me we had to check out the  Veggie Tales Remix video that they shared during the conference. Most of her early childhood was influenced by Veggie Tales, so it has been fun to reminisce about her favorite Silly Songs with Larry. One of her highlights as a toddler was seeing Veggie Tales Live. Although she is maturing in so many areas, it was priceless to slow down long enough to hear her reflections about moments that stand out to her from her early childhood. 

When I think about this “forced gift of rest time,” I recognize that when things slow down enough, we have capacity to settle our minds. We catch our bearings and often see how much our children have grown throughout the first half of the school year. As we switch out the kids’ clothes for the next larger sizes, we recognize they have each grown more than just physically; they have grown mentally and spiritually, too. 

This forced “gift of rest time” is not something that I would have chosen if I had an option. However, I’m learning to make the most of every season. Each moment has a hidden treasure. Sometimes we just have to look a little harder to notice the gift. 

Friend, I am wondering what unexpected “gifts of time” you have experienced? What made this “gift of time” significant for you? Is this a season where you look at your children or grandchildren and wonder how they have changed so much right before your very eyes?! Maybe you have a tip to share for how you slow your life down long enough to notice these changes? This is something that I want to take into every season of life to come: intentional pauses and moments of reflection. If I’m not intentional, these middle years will keep flying by!

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