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Trying to get an over-tired-fussy baby to sleep used to feel hard, overwhelmingly hard. I might have shed a few tears as I prayed for peace and guidance and rest for both them and me.  But those days are gone, only to be remembered with fondness and an aching longing for the sweet smells of baby skin.

Back then I had trouble imagining the teenage years, and I was very afraid of what that would look like. Would they yell and scream at me. Would we fight all the time?  Would they disobey and rebel in ways I wouldn’t understand? Would they began to hate us as parents and wish they could just move out?

What no one told me was how lovely and desirable this phase really would be. We get to cheer them on in sporting events while we observe them trying harder than they ever have before. We watch as they learn how to become self motivated and then excel because of it. We participate in late night conversations where we start to see them as so much better than the person we are, and we cannot help but feel in awe that we get to be their parents.

And yet there are still moments that I cry out in pleading to my Heavenly Father for them. I see their suffering, and I pray that it will one day be turned into triumph. I know I can’t fix all their woes anymore. I can’t just rock them a little longer waiting for them to finally fall asleep. It’s time for them to find solutions and all I can do is offer gentle guidance and then they do whatever they feel is best. Most of all I want them to know how much they mean to me and I want them to feel deep inside their hearts.

I hope and pray that when they look back at their childhood they will know I was there whenever they needed me. But I know I let myself get distracted by technology more often than I would like, and it takes away from what’s really important to me. My little and not so little people.  It doesn’t matter if I’m talking to a friend, looking something up, or scanning through blogs or social media. They deserve all of me.

Since I am already treating Valentines untraditionally with my husband, I thought  I could give to my children something that would mean a little more.

“Your children need your presence more than your presents.” – Jesse Jackson

For the rest of this month I am going to stay off of my phone and computer while my children are home. They may not even notice my phone is tucked away or that I’m more present, but I do hope they feel more love from me. They might not even recognize why. This gift is one of time, for I want them to know they are worth all that I have to give. Susan

The best thing to spend on your children is time.” – Louise Hart

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