Monday, January 26, 2009

Goodnight Moon

I've been thinking alot about some things lately as I see my children growing so quickly and then I remembered an article that I had read a few years ago...I saved it in Jake's scrapbook...

It was entitled, "Goodnight, Childhood--if only we knew when a magical moment was taking place for the last time."

The author, Barbara Wylan Sefton, talks about realizing one day that she wouldn't be reading Goodnight Moon to her son (now ten) ever again. She hadn't read it to him in years and yet it was just now sinking in.

It's got me thinking...How often do we experience something in life for the last time? Regrettably, we rarely ever know until we look back and see that a chapter has silently ended and a new on begun without warning.

She goes on to say, "If only there were a flashing neon sign that lit up the sky or a buzzing alarm that sounded whenever a childhood ritual was ending. The neon letters would proclaim, 'Take note of this experience. Enjoy. It won't happen again.' "

If that flashing neon sign had lit up the sky the last time those pages were turned, would we have stretched out the reading a little longer, savoured the book a little more, or maybe even read it again?

She talks about making sure she captured in her mind's eye the look of wonder on her small son's face as he followed the words and pictures along the page.

She put the book down one night, fully expecting they'd pick it up again. But they never did, and time marched on until the little boy who once loved to point upward to the moon discovered there was so much more to know about that distant, giant ball in the sky.

She tells about how she is grateful that we mark milestones like birthdays, graduations, and new years with celebrations that help us say goodbye to one era and hello to the next. As one hand joyfully unwraps the birthday present, the other pauses for just a moment to wave to that flashing neon sign in the sky.

But what about all the ordinary, day-to-day experiences that exit without the opportunity for a farewell?

Her final quote is, "I'm hoping that what they say about death is true: my entire life will flash before me like a movie, and I'll have a final chance to celebrate the simple, beautiful moments that I was blessed to play a part in, moments that slipped by without my knowing how special they were. Until then, I think I'll curl up on the sofa with my son, enjoy the sweet smell of his freshly shampooed hair, and read Harry Potter one more time."

I took a good look at Jake the other day and was amazed to see that he had sprung up almost overnight...It was like I was seeing him for the first time in months! He definately doesn't want anything resembling "cuddling" in public, he would rather read a book or play a game on the computer than do a craft with me and the girls (not that we're doing alot of those things here). My sister, Nella, even noticed it when we went back for JoJo's wedding...he just didn't have the same interests as he did when he saw her last.

Reilly seems so grown up to me as well...She's going to be 6 in a few days...It seems more like she's turning 16! She's very independent and knows what she wants and will stop at nothing until she gets it. I can't say that this comes as any surprise to me because she's been this way from the start, but she doesn't have her littleness anymore...and that makes me kind of sad.

Ellie is the one who still lets me baby her from time to time, but even then, it's less and less...
I love having her sit in the cart at the grocery store, even though she's way too big for almost looks painful at times...I am literally on the cusp here--one day soon, she will be too big for the cart...and that day is rapidly approaching...

I am having a lot of these "Goodnight Childhood" moments lately...I'm feeling very weepy...It's funny, because having little kids has been a real struggle for me and yet I'm struggling to accept the fact that they're growing up...Talk about emotional flip flopping! I've even had some crazy thoughts like maybe having another baby!?!! What the...?


It brings me great comfort to know that I will always be a mother...even when they are grown up...I am still their mom and they will always need me, whether they know it or not.

**Do you miss those "three little bears sitting on chairs"?

**Do you wish that there were neon signs in the sky to alert you of "last moments"?

**Should my new knickname be "Debbie Downer"?


  1. I'm not sure having a flashing neon sign telling me it was the last time for something would be good for me, I think it would make me sadder. It's sad when I think of those moments being gone, but it also means a lot of the annoying, smotherhood, life-sucking things are gone too and that's a good thing for me. I try to enjoy each phase and not dwell too much on the phases that are over because it's too painful.

  2. I think it's only natural to be sad about the passing moments and time marching on. I keep trying to enjoy all the moments that I have before they slip away because I talk to Lona, a recent empty nester and Vikki, a soon to be empty nester and it makes me realize what I need to be doing-enjoying instead of worrying!

  3. wuh, wuuuhhh, wwwuuuuhhhhhh. (debbie downer sound affect). I'm not saying you should be called Debbie Downer now, I just couldn't resist.
    It's a bittersweet thing to see kids grow up. I hate being so far away missing out on their lives, and they change so much everytime I see them.

  4. hey Debbie,,,,I mean, Shannon. I thought the same thing about Josie yesterday. She had grown into this small human overnight. no more baby. I always said i hated the baby phase. I miss the baby phase now and want to bind her so she doesnt grow anymore. (like oriental women do with their feet.... probably considered child abuse though. especially with duct tape. heh heh)

  5. With a 16, 15, and 10 year old. I remember the days of bibs and bottles and people told me it wouldn't last forever. Though I believed them, I didn't fathom it. Now I look back and say "Where did it go?". It is a bitter sweet thing to watch our children grown.

  6. jojo hit it on the head- it is a bittersweet thing to see your children slip from one stage to another- (just you wait 'til they reach the teens...)always keep your home a refuge. nice work...

  7. I try to savor those little moments, but it still goes by too quickly. Such a nice post!

  8. I love this post. I still get to read Goodnight Moon occasionally, but who knows when the last time will be? It is definitely a bittersweet thing watching our children grow up -- nice because a lot of things get easier, sad because we do end up missing things from earlier stages, hard because they don't exactly get easier, just different!

  9. Good nite moon is one of my favorite books.

    Neon signs would be the easiest, we mortals seem to respond well to neon signs. But really, the spirit tells me all the time how quickly this short happy time of my childrens' childhood is slipping away. Sometimes, sadly, I ignore the promptings. I can honestly say, however, that I feel grateful and treasure my children in their youth!

    I don't think that should be your nickname. The more we realize how little time we have the more we really do something about it! So I appreciate the post!