I’ve never understood those commercials that always pop-up around this time of year showing parents rejoicing as they send kids back-to-school . Of course, by the end of summer, I’m completely exhausted, but I never feel ecstatic about the start of a new school year.

For me, it’s often a time when I do a lot of reflecting.

How is it possible that I have a twelve-year-old entering the sixth grade? Will my kindergartner say potty words at school? Did my 5th grader lose all his math skills over the summer? Am I doing a good job as a parent?

You see, it turns out that those little old ladies who I always seem to bump into at the grocery store are right. The time really does go by so fast. These precious children are only mine for a moment. The beginning of the school year is a stark reminder that I won’t have them forever.

When this commercial for Windex titled “The Story of Lucy” showed up on my Facebook feed, I didn’t think much of it. However, within about five seconds I had tears streaming down my face. Yet, another reminder of how quickly children grow, but, more importantly, a reminder to cherish the gift of life.

The Story of Lucy

6 Things You Can Do to Make Time Slow Down and Embrace the Gift of Parenthood

(You can’t really make time slow down, but you can do a few things to make the most of the time you have with your child.)

1) Spend Time With Your Child Every Day

This sounds like a given, but when you are constantly on the go it can be difficult to find moments free of all distractions. Start with 5-10 minutes of focusing solely on your child. If you have more than one child, schedule time to connect with each of them. Remember, no one knows your child better or loves them more than you do.

2) Tell Your Child How Much You Love Them

Never let a day go by in which you don’t affirm your love for your child. You can never do this too frequently.

3) Remember That They Are A Gift That Has Been Entrusted To You

For some reason, our culture seems to view children as more of a burden than a gift. In moments of stress and difficulty, pause and thank God for the gift He has given you in your child. Don’t lose sight of the gift of parenthood.

4) Plan Memories. Start Traditions.

 It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, in fact, sometimes the simple things have the greatest impact, but set aside time to make lasting memories that you and your child will always have to look back on. Dancing in the rain, a silly handshake each time they come through the door, or a special book you read together are just a few ideas.

5) Pray Together Daily and Attend Mass Together

You’ve most likely heard the saying, “the family that prays together, stays together.” Praying together will help you accomplish all of the previously mentioned suggestions on the list! Make God the foundation of your relationship with your child and He will always provide for your family.

6) Remember, The Best Is Yet To Come

Let the tears fall when you watch a video like this one, but only for a few minutes. The older my children get, the more I love them and appreciate them. It’s incredible to see how God is shaping them, molding them, and using them for His glory and His kingdom.  Don’t dwell so long in the past that you miss the blessings going on right now! Look to the future with expectant hope of what the Lord will bring.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11