Time is of the Essence

Time is of the Essence
Now is the time to get things done…
Wade in the water,
Sit in the sun,
Squish my toes 
in the mud by the door,
Explore the world with a boy just four.
Now is the time to study books,
How a cloud looks,
To ponder “up,”
Where God sleeps nights,
Why mosquitoes take such big bites.
Later there’ll be time 
To sew and clean,
Paint the hall
That soft new green,
To make new drapes, 
refinish the floor–
Later on…
When he’s not just four.
~Irene Foster

Oh, I have a little one who is going to be “just four” in a few months.  He is so incredibly precious, and his curiosity and interest in the world around him is so beautiful to me.  I want to spend every day exploring the world with my children and not miss any of the moments of wonder!

It wasn’t long ago that I was weary of all the older mothers who were telling me, “Enjoy these days, they go so quickly.”  My days were long and the nights were short, and I couldn’t fathom that any of this was going quickly!

But now, I see.

The days are going by too quickly for me, and even as I delight in the accomplishments and development of my growing-up children, it is bittersweet.

Recently, I was looking at some photos of my older children when they were all 6 and under.  They were so small and sweet and innocent.  And now here they are, getting taller than their mother and pondering “big people” things.

In some ways the little years were harder.  And in other ways this is more complex.  I love the way things are and yet there is a wistful yearning for the way things were.  The days when everyone took a nap in the afternoon and clamored after picture books.  Dolls and teddy bears instead of makeup and remote-control helicopters.

Everything changes, and I must change with them.  Each day is a gentle letting go and a propelling forward.  My task is to prepare them for their lives ahead, and not long for them to stay children, but rejoice as they enter young adulthood.

But my mother-heart still treasures the memories of babyhood and toddlerhood.  When I look at their faces I see them as they were and as they are all at the same time.  And it is a strangely painful feeling at times.  It’s a feeling I never felt before becoming a mother.  It is sweetness and pain all mixed up together.

I must not waste a moment.  They are slipping by, one after another, so very quickly.  I must fill up each day to the brim with love and life and beauty.  Scriptures must be memorized, songs and hymns sung, cookies baked, skills passed on, parties and picnics planned, laundry folded, stories told, questions answered, books read, hugs given, blessings spoken, and love given–every day!

There is so much to do and I must not be idle.

Time is of the essence.


  1. Thank you for this touching reminder! Brought many tears to my eyes and heart. My oldest is 8 and I wonder where has it gone and the next two are 4 and 2.5 with a new little one coming in August. I ponder the change and growth and must realize and let go of what was and look forward to what is to come!
    Also I loved your post about mentoring younger moms, I look to you as a mentor and appreciate the wisdom and encouragement that you give on your blog. I am so thankful that you continue to share words of life! Thank You!

    1. Kristen, your comment brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much for writing such thoughtful and encouraging words! I pray you will be blessed as you mother your precious little ones.


  2. This is so true…

    My oldest is almost 24 and a daddy. Then I have 21, 19, almost 14, 10, and 7. Time flies…God is good to draw us together and help us to love each other and enjoy being together!


    1. Deanna, you have the perspective of a mother and grandmother, and younger ones still at home–that's beautiful! You're so right, time really does fly. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

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