I used to review curriculum, now I create it

I Never Realized It Was Over Until It Was

Well, it happened. That moment of self-realization as a parent that everyone talks about, and yet still it caught me completely off guard. It was late at night, the rest of the kids were already in bed and I was up with my older two who are now 10 and 11 years old. My son, a sturdy 11-year-old almost-man was on the couch and we were getting silly so I pulled him onto my lap to hug him goodnight. And by pull I mean I dragged, hefted, and strained to lift him up.

By the time I finally held him in my arms, we were both laughing uncontrollably at the fact that he had grown so much (that or I had grown weaker). And then it hit me. One minute I was laughing and saying, “I remember when you were born,” and the next I broke.

I am not much of a cryer you guys, I tend to be goofy and funny or deep in thought with not much in between. These were no gentle, quiet tears… it was a full-out ugly cry and I just couldn’t stop. Hiccuping, shaking, sobbing, the torrent poured out of me, “I can’t even remember the last time I held you!” Looking over at my kids I saw the tears in their eyes as we all realized something both beautiful and tragic… it was gone.

It was over

Holding them in my arms and singing them lullabies, marvelling at their first sounds and coos and laughs, the first steps and dance parties in the living room. The cute little toddler voices and the way they pronounced their words. Falling asleep in my arms, losing their first teeth. Just like that, it was all over and I hadn’t even realized it. I watched it flash before my eyes, the memories both painful and sweet and so many lost memories along the way.

The should haves, the could haves, the might have beens. How often I pushed aside the moment because I was tired or frustrated or overwhelmed. Until the moments are no longer there for the taking and all I have are the memories.

How can I be both so proud of who they are becoming and yet be so heartbroken at what we’ve left behind? It’s over half done! I can never go back. I’ve made so many mistakes, and as I looked into their eyes and saw nothing but future, I was so so sad.

They are not little anymore. Sure, they aren’t adults, I still have time with my kids. And yet they are their own little people with their own personalities and preferences and struggles and wants. The shaping years are primarily behind us and everything that stands in front of us is independence.

Time is running out.

My youngest is already five. I have no second chances. There will be no more baby snuggles or baby smell, no more adorable first words or falling asleep in my arms. The stage has been set, and like it or not, the play continues to go forward.

As I sit here writing, tears streaming down my face, I feel like a piece of ice floating in the middle of the ocean. I cannot salvage or change the past and I don’t know what the future holds.

Here’s the thing

In this life, we get tired. We make mistakes, we don’t value what we have until it is gone. I had heard the warnings, I had read the articles of mothers before me who had had this moment for themselves. But the reality is, we are all trying our best to survive the chaos, to trudge our way through the mud of the everyday struggles. We can only do what we can do.

So to the mothers after me, still in the midst of babies and toddlers and preschool chaos, take a deep breath. There are so many things vying for your attention. Your house will never stop calling to you, there will always be distractions and busyness. Some of it is necessary, unescapable. All you can do now is treasure the moments. Not all the moments, we can never fully see the beauty of today until tomorrow. It is the way of humanity.

Instead, slow down just a little, write down a few of those memories, capture them in your heart, store them up. You will have regrets, you will have your own day just like mine, but as you continue to walk forward you will remember the times you marvelled at your kids. You will remember the times that you stopped looking at your phone and took in their enthusiastic explanations. You will remember the way they looked into your eyes while you nursed them or played with your hair while you snuggled with them.

These memories will be your treasure and your pain. So incredibly priceless and beyond value because of their rarity… because they are gone forever.

Slow down, take time


  1. It’s true…they grow…you cry…you move on…you share…you teach…you raise them up as God instructs…you pray…ohhhh you pray! Out of 8, half are married, another one or two are not far behind…just the last two at home will be home after those, for a few precious years. As I watch the 19 year old breaching on marriage, the 25 year old finally believing he has found “the one”, to the 15 year old on the breach of adulthood, but still a tender, gentle soul struggling to “belong” & the baby…the 13 year old hyper streak…stubborn, challenging & so gentle hearted. I watch them grow…I pray for their older siblings & spouses…the ones sitting waiting while their 1 year old gets tubes in his ears & wait to soon see who their next child is gonna be, I pray as the other son sits with his wife waiting to hear the next update on his wifes cancer update, & encourage our daughter in love who is in the midst of toddler/ kidhood, with 3 littles who run her ragged, but bless her as well-she took one piece of advice from me…get a notebook…write those special phases down, cherish the chaos, live… God Bless your journey!

  2. Im bawling now!
    Just had baby #3 2 weeks ago and we’ve made the decision that she is our last!
    All my hormones are wrecked and sloshing me around reading this!!!
    It’s beautiful…and MOTIVATING.
    Thanks, Rebecca, for the reminder to slow down and appreciate.

  3. So beautifully written and definitely words i could have written myself. Thank you for always sharing your heart with us!

  4. Beautifully written. We’ve decided that we are not done with having children just yet however. I’m hoping to have a 2019 or 2020 baby. Not decided yet though. My first two children are two years old now.
    I’ve always craved a big family as well. I love homeschooling my children. It’s a tough hard decision to make isnt it? So many questions and things to consider as well.

  5. I shed a couple tears after this post. I am 500 days from one of mine being 18. And my middle just turn 4 and my baby just turned one. I think she is our last but sometimes I get sad. Everything you said is right. I am trying to build my blog but slowing down and enjoy the little ones sometimes I forget. My teen changed and our realtionship is so distant. It’s hard being a mom when they grow and change. I wish I could slow the clock down.

  6. Wow! This moved me to tears!!! Thank you for the reminder that we can’t have these moments back. We need to treasure our time with our kids, because life doesn’t have a replay button..

  7. Holy smokes this is good. Shouldn’t have read in public though- don’t want to cry at the coffee shop. Thank you for your perfect insight. So true. I try to do it all at once. Constantly. Thanks for the reminder to slow it down.

  8. GURLLLLL!! It’s coming like a freight train at high speed!!! My 16 year old just left for the first day of 11th grade! Yes (gulp, sniffle) only ONE more first day of school after today!!! But that wasn’t even the hardest part. He is a driver now, all be it in my hubbies 20 yrs old car, but this morning, he drove himself to school…I watched my first born, my only son, slowly pull out of the driveway. He gave me a little crocked grin and a wave, and there he went..and there I stood with this overwhelming sense of sadness that he didn’t NEED me anymore. Now I know good and well he NEEDS me more now than ever, otherwise he would eat and dress poorly, have zero manners, and not know to open a door for a lady (we started in the preschool years on that one). OH ME, OH MY!! No more car lines, no more seeing the kids pour out of the school at final bell, no more “How was your day?” “Good!”. Honestly, I may have to take the keys back for a couple days just to appreciate the last rides with my boy to school. Yes, he is in public school, only started homeschooling a younger sibling last year. We have new adventures to cherish, and so will I with my son as he continues on the path God has planned for him. But like you, I never realized it was over till it was.

  9. Man, did I have my moment. Many moments like this where I just struggle to accept it at times. Especially the two older ones, as I was younger and inmature when they were babies and really disvalued time and now with my baby, 5, I dont get to enjoy her because the older ones really just suck all my time from me. Its hard to accept and its hard to remember when they were babies and because they don{t get emotional about those memories, I have to enjoy them alone. They were so sweet as babies, but not wanting independence, as it seems the next thing for them to do, they don{t get emotional about the past like when they were little. They instinctly know they are one the way out and that hurts too.

  10. Just read your post. Soooo many fun memories. Still making them. Just came back yesterday from a reunion with them all and their spouses. My kids are all grown. The stories I have produced for the airlines and other venues were their bedtime stories. Every night Ronda would tub the kids at 7. Then I would come in and play chase and rile them up and she would get mad and then I would lay down on their beds and tell them the Tales of Davy Jones and “Quetzalcoatl” the Feathered Serpent being rescued by “Garrett Spencer.” 2nd son is Garrett Spencer Gundestrup. I’d tell them about “A Knight in Atlantas” a 7 ft warrior named Sir Christian Thomas Richard and his son Mckay. My Oldest son is Christian Mckay. I told them about “Falling Rock” a Cherokee warrior. I want everyone’s kids to enjoy and learn the lessons that my kids learned from these stories. The world is a rough place. My stories helped my kids know what to expect and to be ready to face the world. Bully’s – bad breaks – mean people – nice people – misunderstood people – life isn’t fair and was never intended to be. Get used to it. I love kids. Coached baseball – basketball – Church youth. Nothing in the world better than seeing a kid succeed even if it is a small success. That confidence is crucial to a successful life. You’re doing a great job! In a world full of “ME” it is great to see real parents who have the maturity to place their children 1st in their lives. Between video games – pornography – in gratitude and lack of a hard work ethic I fear for the next generation and the generation after them. I hope and pray we can save enough of them so THEY can save the world.

  11. This has been hitting me a LOT lately. My oldest will be 13 in just a few short months. My youngest just turned 8. I no longer have babies. I have 5 little humans all with very unique and interesting personalities. I only have 5 more years to mold my oldest into an adult before he becomes one legally. It terrifies me most days. I can definitely connect with you in that respect. I catch myself crying at facebook memories of them all as tiny little ones.

  12. I found this while searching the net for reviews on Master Books, but the Master knew what I really needed was to slow down. Thank you!

  13. This had me crying- the ugly cry. My youngest is in college and the rest are all scattered over the entire US. I miss holding them. I’ve had to let go. Thank you for reminding me how precious they are and my homeschooling time was.

  14. I 100% can relate! I have 3 boys aged 20, 10, and 8. When my youngest was born he had to stay in the NICU for 6 weeks. We lived in a different town from the hospital so my oldest (just turned 12) would come and visit on the weekends. One night after we got back to our room, we layed on my bed watching a movie. My son was tired at the end and wantied to just sleep in my bed. I was exhausted after weeks of being up around the clock, having to pump etc… and really just wanted my bed to myself. He reluctantly agreed to move to his own bed (in the same room) and I didn’t give it much thought. Days later he moved to his father’s house in another province. This was a surprise as he was only meant to go for a summer visit….but he decided to stay and didn’t tell me until after he had left. He stayed for 2 1/2 years. By the time he came back as a huge 14 1/2 year old, he had absolutely no interest in ever cuddling in bed with me ever again. Totally understandable! .But I didn’t know that last opportunity at the hospital would be my last. When I realized that I too did the `ugly cry’. How could I not have taken advantage of that last opportunity??? Of course if I had realized it would be the last chance I would have, but that’s the thing….we never do know. Everyone tells you to enjoy every minute and that it doesn’t last long. But in the midst of it, it doesn’t feel that way. My husband & I felt like it would never end, us getting up with at least 1 son during the night. Years went by and it felt like we would never get a whole nights sleep again and then one day we realized… had been months since we had needed to get up with them in the night. It has now been a couple of years and sometimes I almost forget how we once thought it might never happen.
    This is our 1st year homeschooling and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to spend so much more time with my younger 2 boys before they are all grown up. My oldest leaves for the military in 5 days. It felt like he grew up too fast. Wayyyyyy too fast. I didn’t think I had it in me to homeschool 2 boys with special needs but I see now what a blessing I have been given and so far it has been amazing! Connecting with my boys like never before!! I LOVE your Youtube channel, your blog, your mission, and your family! Can’t wait to try your curriculum!

  15. I remember grieving a year or two after my last child was born. She was our 12th and I was almost 43. Newborn babies had been a part of my life for 21 years. Newborn and toddler days can be so sweet and yet so overwhelming. Adolescence has it’s challenges as well as the older teen years. Life is filled with interruptions and adjustments. These are daily reminders of how much we need God’s help and wisdom. May I encourage you, no matter what stage of child raising you are in, to remember God and reach out to Him. Stay flexible and teachable. God uses our children to transform our character and to show what is really in our hearts. I did not always do a great job of homeschooling my twelve, but I’ve never been sorry for that choice. The lessons God taught me were hard, but oh so needed and good for my soul. Every person is a student, whether child or adult. We should always be learning truth from the Master Teacher. Now with grown married children and our baby in her last year of college, we are learning to adjust once again… this time to the empty nest. After having children in our home for 40 years… I think this might be our biggest adjustment yet.
    But whatever stage we are in, let’s remember to look at the “textbook” and the Teacher. He has the answers.
    p.s. And I’m grateful for grandchildren who make the empty nest seem not so empty. .

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  17. You made me bawl like a baby. My oldest is nearly 24 and my youngest is 6.5. It goes so quickly. I wish I could go back for a day and take it all in again. The days are gone but there’s so many new ones ahead! It’s a blessing for life. Enjoy the good and the bad. You’ll miss it all. Sending hugs to all the mommas and dads…

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I used to review curriculum, now I create it!