15 Minutes

For 15 minutes, around seven o’clock each evening, I am doing exactly what I want to be doing.  By some standards that might seem disappointing, that the other 16+ waking hours of my day I’m doing something I don’t want to be doing.  That’s not exactly the case.  It’s somewhat of a grey area, as a mom, doing what you want to do vs. doing what has to be done.  Sometimes they overlap,  not as often as we’d all like them too though, but I digress.  For 15 minutes, each evening, the stars align.   I scoop Selah up, in her warm snuggly jammies, and she rests her sweet head on my shoulder.  We grab her velvety blanket and warm bottle, which she might get forever as my lone hold-out to my last baby, and we quietly slip down the hall to her bedroom.  There is no great fan fare to our exit.  We try to find Daddy for a kiss goodnight, but when he’s buried beneath boys we just exit stage left to avoid pulling any of the chaos along with us.  There is something so gratifying about closing the door on chaos.  Whether the boys are arguing about who’s cleaning up the dinner dishes, taking turns in the shower, chasing each other in circles, wrestling with Dad, or really just being… it’s loud.  Walking into a dark room, turning on the sound machine and laying on the couch, Selah settling on me in complete surrender to her day, it’s my own personal rebellion to their chaos.

With summer approaching, extending sunlight just a bit longer, there is a soft glow that comes through the yellow and black flower pattern of the drapes my mom and I sewed together.  It’s the first moment in my day I have time to let my brain wander.  There is a picture in the nursery, a print of a painting my mom commissioned that captures the home on White Lake I spent more than 15 summers.  Many evenings I spend time just staring into that picture, letting my mind go back to that girl that didn’t think of much more than herself, and how absolutely indulgent and free that felt.  Allowing my entire being to go back to that time and place, how the air felt relaxing in the hammock, music from my parents generation that I’ve grown to love playing on the speakers, VanMorison, Joe Crocker, The Eagles, knowing we’d grill out and eat dinner at the picnic table outside.  I don’t do it from a place of longing for what once was, but more out of gratitude THAT it was.  Time and maturity have allowed me to hold on to the great memories, while releasing the bad.   I look at that picture, much like I hope to re-read this post someday.

It’s that time of year again… kids birthdays and Mother’s day = all the feels.  Nine years ago today I became a mom, and one week from now Selah turns TWO?!?  It’s inexplicable, the feelings that come watching Selah pass milestones.  It went so fast.  Too fast.  She’s completely verbal now, running after her brothers, fiercely independent (until she’s not).  The season I swore would never seem to end, has a light at the end of its tunnel and its blindingly bright, so much so I’m catching myself looking away.  Looking back.  These 15 minutes, they have been the favorite part of my day for close to a decade now.  It wasn’t that I could always appreciate taking in the soft contours of baby faces, and tiny fingers that stroke mine.  Not even close.  MANY times, bedtime was more ‘cold and broken halleluja’, at having survived another day, than it was the victory march.  Either way, these 15 minutes have always signified that I had made it.  I had poured out what I could for that day, however it had turned out, I had showed up and tried my best.

One of my goals in life is to find the good where I’m at.  I’m not perfect at it by any stretch… That’s why its a goal.  I’ve seen too many people in my life always hoping for what might come around the next corner, or stuck living in the glory days of the past, never quite content with their current lot.  It took me awhile, in this land of perpetual littles, but I’m thankful I didn’t miss it completely before it slipped right past me.  It’s been a season full of chaos and challenges, but its also what my Grandmother, and every mother of older kids constantly reminds me to cherish.   Time and maturity, has given them the gift of fading the challenges, mess, and chaos to grey.  I have to imagine their memories are of these moments when they made it to the end of another day, and for just a few minutes they closed the door on the mess, drown out the chaos, settled into something comfortable, and simply felt the weight of love in their arms.

These precious minutes always pass too quickly.  Wrestling the feeling of indulgence to stay and hold a sleeping baby, with the wisdom I’ve gained through the years that reminds me not to mess with that short window where baby transitions to bed well vs. gets just enough sleep to fight you all night long.  Knowing responsibility is waiting for me just on the other side of the door where I left it minutes earlier.  The temptation is to stay, but I kiss her goodnight in order to keep the evening routine moving along.  Three more to get to bed, all still wanting to spend even MORE minutes of their day with me.  I remind myself of the gift that is, that even though they don’t fall asleep on me any longer, all too soon that desire to end their days with me will fade as well.  AJ singing me songs while he snuggles, throwing his little arm over me to keep me in his bed just a few more minutes.  Logan and I ending our day with the same argument over who could love who more.   Caleb always wanting to be last, trying to find new and innovative ways to stay up just a little later.  Finding even MORE questions to ask, though I’m shocked that’s even possible as he’s already asked hundreds over the course of each day.

I wish I could say I always have the grace to appreciate each moment for what it is.  I don’t.  I’m excited for the possibilities to come.  I’m thankful for what has come and gone.  But for roughly 15 minutes each day, I want time to stop all together.  Enjoying the overwhelming good of right now.


  1. Lindsay Tolar says:

    More, I need more. You have such a beautiful way with words. I loved this post! Even though I only have Kendall (hoping for more soon!!!), I still felt and understood every word you typed. You have a true gift my friend XOXO

  2. Melissa McQuillen says:

    Just lovely, Julie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. There is something so sweet about bedtime – even when I am exhausted and I just want them to go to bed, I’ve always been the sucker for 1 more hug, 1 more kiss – ok 20 more. 🙂 Precious moments!

  3. Heather says:

    Oh so true Julie! I’m sitting here rocking Sam after a restless few hours for him. Beautifully written & soooo very true.

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