April Jeppson: Take time for the little things with children

Published 8:45 pm Friday, May 27, 2022

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Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

It’s finally Memorial Day Weekend. Growing up, this would signify the end of school. Start after Labor Day and finish around Memorial Day. Often it was a few days into June before our year was done. We did not have virtual school or online learning, so when we had to close due to the weather, we had to make up for those days at the end of the year. My children would have no idea what I am talking about if I made them read that last sentence. They would probably give me the same look they give me when I try to explain why I can’t just tell the radio to play the song they want.

April Jeppson

My husband and son are going camping with a few other fathers and their sons this weekend. Normally they’d go earlier in the month, but the weather this year has been so finicky, that there really haven’t been many camping opportunities. My son looks forward to this trip with the boys, and my daughters look forward to their girl time with their mom.

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Sometimes we go out to eat, or to a movie. One time I took them to get pedicures. That was a hoot, watching my youngest try not to giggle and kick her technician in the face. Sometimes we’ll play a board game, or do our hair or nails at home. No matter what they choose, it’s always a special time.

When you have multiple children, it can be difficult to find time to do one-on-one or even small group activities. By the time I get home at night or on the weekend, I’m spent. I might snuggle on the couch and watch a show, but it doesn’t take long before I honestly don’t want to hang out with anyone. So the boys camping trip has become something that we all look forward to. It’s a chance for us to get to know our children a bit better and make some memories.

Time goes by so fast — so fast. The older I get, the more I see that every old person who told me this, was 100% correct. All of a sudden your kids grow up and then they move out and you just need to hope that you did a good job. Well, thankfully it’s not that simple. There are things we can do to help ensure that the scales tip in our favor. Obviously, children have personalities and agency and have a lot of control over who they ultimately become, but as parents, we can help set the trajectory.

It looks different for each age and for each kid, but it’s important just the same. For my son, it’s watching his favorite show or YouTube video and then talking about it with him afterwards. For my oldest daughter, it’s hiding away with her in another room and just letting her talk. My youngest still requires extra hugs and kisses before bed and lots of show and tell time for the drawings she makes.

All of them need my time. I know that because I’m there for them during these little things, they know I’ll be there for them during the big things. And although I don’t know what the future holds, it helps me feel better about being a parent. On that note, I need to get going — I’ve got a date with my daughters. 

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.