I found Alice Chase’s poem decades ago when our kids were very little. It spent years taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet, its paper yellowing and becoming more precious over time. I opened that cabinet every day, and every day I paused to read her poem.
It’s a poignant poem. Alice writes about the time when her son was still a child: “My hands were busy through the day. I didn’t have much time to play.” She thinks back on how those years flew by: “For life is short, and years rush past. A little boy grows up so fast.” Then she ends sadly: “I wish I might go back and do. The little things you asked me to.”
Alice’s words touched my heart. I didn’t want to look back sadly when my kids were grown. I didn’t want to waste never-to-return moments. Alice’s words caused me to pause and pay attention and be present. They helped me notice opportunities I would have lost. They protected me from squandering my time on things more trivial than taking the time to love.
I needed the daily reminder. Without it, I’d get busy and overlook moments that otherwise would quietly rush past. But then, perhaps while making dinner, I’d open that cabinet to reach for some seasoning, see her words, and remember to pause and take the time to love.
Bedtime prayers and back rubs and out-of-tune lullabies. Running on the beach. Visits to the park. Hunting tadpoles in the creek. Throwing a football back and forth while we waited for the carpool. And cooking and cleaning and driving and other jobs, those too. But also making tents under the dining room table. Stopping in the midst of tasks to smile and to hold and to hug. And that magical night we blew iridescent bubbles by candlelight while rain pounded on our living room windows.
Again and again, I’ve been blessed and protected by Alice’s words. Thank you, Alice. May your words continue to provide blessing and guidance to moms everywhere.
Would like to read what she wrote? Then link to her poem: To My Grown-Up Son. May its words warm your heart and guide your time.