Parenting Snapshots: Keepers or Not?


closeup of a toddler's hand holding onto their parent's index finger


As I head into my last year of having a child living full-time in my home, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking back on so many parenting moments. Sometimes I’m melancholy and sometimes gleeful, yet I try to think of the parenting snapshots I’d really like to hold on to. I also think of a few that I’m delighted are over.

I wish I had a snapshot, and an awareness, of the last time I played Candy Land with one of my children. If I knew it was the last time, I’m confident I would have tossed that annoying board and accessories off the table in dramatic fashion while chanting, “Hell yes! I will never play this mind numbing game again. Woooot!” There was no love loss between Candy Land and me. My only regret is that I wasn’t aware of exactly the last time I would play it. That would have been one heck of a celebration.

I also wish I had a snapshot of the last pre-dawn drop off or post 10 p.m. athletic pickup for my children. If I had known it was the last one, I would have brought signs with me that said, “See you suckers!” Maybe that sign would be a bit harsh, but I’m okay with that. I haven’t once missed the ridiculously early or ridiculously late drives for my children. Not once. Good riddance.

Unfortunately, I do have a snapshot of the last time one of my children drove me around while learning to drive. My youngest was driving to the DMV to take his driving test. I was ever so sweetly yapping at him about how bad his driving was. We got to the DMV, he took his test, passed it, walked out of the building and said, “I’m never driving you again.” I, with equal maturity, said, “fine” and proceeded to drive home only to be pulled over by the local police and given a speeding ticket. That snapshot remains clear in my vision. My youngest enjoys having that one to hang over my head.

Mourning The Missing Snapshots

There are, however, snapshots or memories that I wish I’d known were the last. If only I had known when it was the last time one of my children would hold my hand. If I could have stopped time, I would have looked down to see their sweet little hand in mine and I would have treasured the moment for just a bit longer. I would have acknowledged the gratitude that came with being their mother, of holding their hands, of guiding them through their childhood. Little is as precious as the feeling of your young child’s hand in your own or the trust that they give you with that hand.

If I'd known it was the last time my child would hold my hand, I would have stopped time. #parenting #emptynest Click To Tweet

I wish I’d known it was going to be the last time I was to hold any of them in my arms. I wish I’d known it would be the last time I would feel the weight of their little bodies and their sweet skin next to me. I would have cherished the moment and let it pass with more awareness and more grace. I would have also loved to know the moment they stopped calling me Mommy and their father Daddy. Oh how I wish I’d known the last time that they reached for me for a kiss first versus the other way around.

Time marched on and the phases of childhood came and went. I’m grateful for all of them, yet I do wish I could have a time machine to periodically go back and relive a moment with my children. I wouldn’t change a thing. Okay, maybe I would get rid of Candy Land. But I would also change my own awareness of what was ending. Snapshots of their childhood and those precious endings are priceless and ultimately all keepers.

Love,

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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Comments to “Parenting Snapshots: Keepers or Not?”


  1. I hear you on that one! Lately, I’ve been having dreams, and my kids are little again. I look back wishing I had taken more time to cherish those moments, hug them a bit longer while tucking them into bed. We take so much for granted, to be true. Life continues to be a continuing lesson on how to better ourselves, or to tell a loved one we love them, instead of rushing through our lives making appointments, going to work, the list goes on. “Live and learn” resonates in my mind, and that is what we must do. With age comes wisdom, to be true. I adore my grandson, and love him as if he were my own, but also can appreciate the time I spend with him. It’s crazy how fast life continues to fly by. Making the most of each day is the best we can do, even if at times, it doesn’t seem possible.

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