I enjoyed roller coaster rides as a child. The moderately sized rollercoasters in the amusement parks at Chennai were not quite threatening and I seized every opportunity I could to go on a ride.
So, when we had the opportunity to visit Disneyland a few years back, I didn’t hesitate to join my family on a Star Wars themed ride.
It was, without a doubt, the scariest thing I had ever been on!
My kids were hesitant about going in, but they came out all pumped up and ready to ride again. I, on the other hand, barely made it through the ride - white-knuckled, eyes shut tight, fervent prayers on my lips, and knees knocking throughout!
And that . . . that was the closest experience I could compare to my life as a mother of triplets!
One minute I’d be elated over a child’s new accomplishment, and the next, moping over a misbehaviour.
Just when I thought I'd gotten it all figured out, I’d be suddenly blindsided by a new twist that turned my perfect parenting world upside down.
I went into parenting completely unaware of the crazy adventure I had stepped into. While I’ve mostly enjoyed the ride, there have been moments when I couldn’t have made it through another minute without hastily murmured prayers or fervent cries to the Lord for help.
When I had three boys under five, my life itself seemed a blur. I’d be laughing with joy over something funny they said and, within minutes, be reduced to tears because of a temper tantrum.
Things eventually turned a corner though. When my boys started attending pre-school, I had a couple of hours to myself when I could gather my bearings and be a more intentional parent.
Only when my routine quieted down did I realise I had been missing out on a lot of beautiful moments with my kids. I couldn’t remember much of what happened the years before. While I did make time to read, play, colour, and enjoy being with them, I hadn’t kept track of their candid conversations and heart-melting moments.
It was around that time that I stumbled across this verse in my Bible:
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
I was awed by the fact that Mary treasured the little moments she had with Jesus in her heart.
I presume Mary had a lot to ponder . . . from Jesus’s unorthodox birth in a manger to His ghastly death and astounding resurrection, nothing about His life was normal.
Mary knew He was the Son of God and didn’t want to miss remembering every aspect of His short life with her.
Taking a leaf out of Mary’s book, I decided to start documenting the moments I was treasuring with my kids as well. I started journaling sporadically, noting down what life was in each season as my kids grew up.
In recent years, I’ve made my journaling more minimal and sustainable – just a sentence or two to capture a moment that made me smile. When I got a decent smartphone, I started supplementing my journaling with random pictures from our daily life. I don’t take a lot of photos, but the couple I do take almost every week document a moment in our family that I want to treasure for life.
Many of these pictures are not Instagram worthy. But when they pop up in my phone memories a year or more later, I recall with fondness the beauty of that moment and how it made me feel. I look back at those journals and pictures, and my heart delights at the memories I’ve gathered over the years.
I’d be lying if I said I documented only the good stuff happening in our lives. I also note down the hard things.
I don’t want to forget that it was God’s grace that carried me through an exceptionally difficult week when one son injured his head and had to get staples, all three boys were wheezing, and we got stuck on a flyover with a burst tyre and no tools to change it!
So, yes. I document how my boys go through a disappointment in school but also how they rally together and look out for each other. I note down how they carefully guide me down a trekking path, and ponder how far they’ve come from being little toddlers who wouldn’t let go of my hand outside the home.
We now look back and laugh at the video we have of one child complaining that another was breaking pencils by using them as drumsticks. We sober up at another picture that was taken minutes before a major meltdown.
We treasure the little things in our hearts, knowing that the days are fleeting. Our boys won’t be this age forever.
By paying attention to the little things, we’re celebrating the season of life we’re currently in, by God’s grace. By documenting God’s goodness in our daily lives – through words, pictures and videos, we’re treasuring them for a lifetime.
Someday, when we’re old and grey, I imagine we’ll look back in fondness at the years past and recollect the moments that mattered.
Parents of littles are often told to cherish each moment. I know I couldn’t have done that in the midst of caring for 3 premature babies, sleep deprivation, and pure exhaustion.
But I also know that while each day seemed to last forever, the years fled by.
May we be more intentional about making memories that last, treasuring the little moments before they’re past, and savouring them forever in our hearts.