It seems like yesterday when I was proudly walking around the Prince George’s County Circuit Courthouse as a very pregnant first-time working mother – and now, 19.5 years later, I realize that I didn’t cherish the moments the way I should have. I was so busy working day and night as a court reporter that I didn’t take the time to play enough, to cuddle enough, to really take in that experience. Wow, did I miss out, which is why I’m sharing my most heartfelt recommendations for all parents: Every single day take fifteen minutes – and if that’s too much, take five minutes – to stop everything and just be there for your child. Read, play, sing, dance or do crafts with your child. Whatever you fill those fifteen minutes with, make sure that time is one-on-one, and not you, your child, and the television set. Those fifteen minutes are you and mommy or you and daddy time.
Eventually your child will ask for his or her fifteen minutes, and you’ll look forward to them as well. I know how hard it is to find the time, but it’s extremely important never to take parenthood for granted. Take in every laugh, every cry, every hug, and mount it prominently in your memory for easy retrieval. That way, when your child(ren) move(s) away, you’ll have those cherished memories to move you forward into your next life chapter as an empty-nester; and because you did it right, you’ll much more easily be able to reassure yourself that you did in fact stop to smell the roses. After all, isn’t that what life’s all about?