WDAY.com |

North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Published December 03, 2012, 11:35 PM

Parenting Perspectives: Enjoying the little things

As I went Black Friday shopping this year, I noticed the abundance everywhere. Stores were brimming with high-tech this and that, the latest gadgets and the finest clothing and housewares. But in the corner, on a shelf tucked way back, I noticed a little sign.

By: Tracy Briggs, INFORUM

As I went Black Friday shopping this year, I noticed the abundance everywhere.

Stores were brimming with high-tech this and that, the latest gadgets and the finest clothing and housewares. But in the corner, on a shelf tucked way back, I noticed a little sign. It read, “Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

As we go about our everyday lives, I’ve come to savor the normalcy, the small things that make us happy from day to day, and I realize it is those things that stay in my memory.

Here are five examples in my own life. I hope you’ll take the time to reflect on the “little things” in your life.

Home Movies

I’ve learned a valuable lesson about home movies since I became a mom in 2002.

Many of us fill our home movie library with the big events: the dance recitals, Christmas concerts and school plays. But have you ever noticed how much more fun it is to watch the everyday videos?

I’m talking about the times you just turned the camera on to catch your child on a random Tuesday night. They’re not in their finest clothes performing for the crowd. They’re wearing a spaghetti-stained Disney princess shirt, leggings with holes in the knees and one sock. But they’re telling you what they did at preschool or singing their favorite “Wiggles” song.

I can still hear my older daughter singing: “Fwoot Salad, Yummy, Yummy.” (Wiggles fans will get that reference.) It’s the everyday glimpse at my toddler that now makes me smile as I prepare to send her off to middle school next year.

Family game night

I’d like to be like the families you see on the Hasbro commercial – carving out one night a week to play games. We fall short of that thanks to homework, extracurricular activities and an addiction to “Dancing with the Stars.”

But every once in a while, I make a point to grab the family and force them to sit down and play a game. It’s fun, especially now that the girls’ skills extend beyond Candyland. We’ve tried Apples to Apples, Hedbanz and even Twister.

My children’s laughter

I remember one night debating with the girls about what movie to watch. I found “Singing in the Rain” in the cabinet and told them they’d love it. They doubted it. It was too old and thus, in their minds, BORING. But they love to dance and sing, so I insisted.

As we started the movie, I could see the girls slowly warming to it. By the time the Donald O’Connor walking-on-the-walls scene came on, they were hooked. I can still hear their belly laughs at that scene. I love that it made them so happy, and of course, I’m hoping they realized that sometimes Mom is actually right.

Halloween 2012

It was a night that just felt so right. We set off to trick-or-treat with some good family friends and their two children, but as the night wore on, we ended up running into another neighbor, his two boys and another neighbor girl.

There we were: Seven kids, four adults and one dog traipsing through the neighborhood. It was a gorgeous fall evening. The kids ran from house to house having the time of their lives.

I smiled as we said goodbye at the end of Trick-or-Treatpalooza and begged the kids not to be too old for this next year.

A burger with mom

In the fall of 1992, I was performing in an amateur orchestra group in the area. It was really low-key. We played at church services and nursing homes.

It was fun even though we never had much of an audience, but that didn’t stop my mom from checking us out one day. She came to see me play, just like she had when I was in high school.

Afterward I needed to run off to do something, but we decided on a whim to go to McDonald’s and grab a quick burger. We talked and chatted together, just the two of us for a half-hour. I didn’t think much of it.

But what I didn’t know then was that my mom wouldn’t be around much longer. Just two months later, on Christmas Eve, she would die suddenly from a brain aneurysm.

I have so many great memories of her and the time she spent with our family, but for some reason it was that dinner at McDonald’s that always comes to mind. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I took the time out of my perceived busy 20-something life to eat with my mom. And I’m so glad I did.

We’ll always remember the big things in life: our weddings, our kids’ births, but remember to cherish those little moments that make memories.

I once heard someone describe child rearing as “the days can be long, but the years are way too short.” We all know it goes way too fast. So this holiday season, I hope we can drink in those little moments with loved ones and celebrate them as the real gifts we’ve been given.

And for heaven’s sake, take the time to grab a burger with someone you love.

Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and is an employee of Forum Communications Co.

Tags: