I didn’t get to apologize in time.
She was already asleep.
My lost patience had gotten the best of me.
And her exhaustion had gotten the best of her.
Round-after-round, we went.
She was determined to get her way.
I was determined to show her mine.
It was our third evening of a hysterical bedtime, and we were both worn out.
And so, after a long day and a night before of very little sleep, I tossed her pajamas onto her bed and told her I was going to walk away for a few minutes and that I’d be back.
I didn’t want to do that; not one bit. But I had already raised my voice more than I wanted to.
And I knew she didn’t deserve that.
“You come back and rub my head, Mommy?” she cried behind me, sobbing.
“Yes…of course.” I half-grumbled back, secretly hoping we weren’t going for another 45-minute bedtime battle, as we had the two nights previously. Secretly hoping she’d fall asleep before I came back upstairs, so I could get an earlier start on the three loads of 10:15-PM laundry awaiting me.
So, I went downstairs, feeling tense and awful, chugged a glass of water, took a minute or two, and made my way back upstairs.
Just purely beautiful.
As peaceful as can be.
Tears drying on her precious no-longer-a-baby cheeks.
And so, I quietly knelt down next to her, grabbed her weary hand dangling over the edge of the bed and let my own tears flow.
Flooding my eyes.
Steadily streaming down my weary cheeks.
Flushing out the heaviness crushing my heart from the overwhelming news of the last few weeks, months and years. Thinking of all families and heartbroken parents who would never be able to tuck in their sweet babies…ever again, for so many different tragic reasons.
I let it all go.
Finally both exhaling, and remembering to inhale; all within the same moment, amidst the sobs. Amidst the sheer relief at having her home, safe and sound. Amidst grasping for His ever-giving grace, at my lack of patience.
A gentle reminder, amid so much unexplained pain and suffering in our world, that has more than reminded each of us just how precious life really is.
And so, as I sat there quietly, holding her tiny fingers, and rubbing her head, I realized just how petty my lost-patience was. I realized just how much some parents would give anything in the world to have a bedtime hiccup with a little one. In the comfort of their own homes. With a life still living and thriving. Simply being able to hold their sweet babies—big and small.
If these past few years have taught us anything, it is the sanctity of life. That nothing in life is promised or guaranteed. Nothing set in stone. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Uncertainty can cause relentless anxiety. Long, tiring days can bring on a severe lack of patience.
Yet, each and every new day, God shows up with a gift. The most beautiful gift—an irreplaceable blessing.
The gift of 86,400 seconds.
And this priceless gift?
There are families who would give anything for even just a few more seconds of time with their loved ones.
One more “I love you”.
A gentle kiss.
A couch cuddle.
To hear their laughter.
To simply hold them and embrace the sanctity of life.
“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”
Time doesn’t slow down, and it most definitely does not stop. It is not promised, and it can be gone in an instant.
But, time is also one of God’s greatest gifts.
May we never forget…
…never again forget to fill those 86,400 blessed gifts with as much unconditional love, and beautiful memories, as absolutely possible.
And to thank our Heavenly Father above, for each-and-every irreplaceable moment we are never guaranteed to have.
This post originally appeared at Gracefully Woven by Elizabeth Spenner, published with permission.