The best piece of advice I received when my first child was born was to "Take it all in." As the giver went on to explain, "It all goes by so fast. You need to give yourself that chance to just experience what it is you're living."
Since then, I've tried to stop and smell the roses (instead of the poopy diapers). Whether it was those quiet moments during a midnight feeding, or watching them play, I want to hold these times near.
Today we took the kids to Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park here in Calgary. One of the big draws is the wagon ride through the park. We waited for our turn and climbed into the wagon, found a place on the bench near the front and both Murray and I set one child on our lap. The driver encouraged us to sing Christmas carols, but I was expecting that no one would take him up on the offer. Singing in public is not something people often do, unless they're being paid a lot of money, or they've had too much to drink, or if the song is Happy Birthday.
Then the woman across from us started singing Jingle Bells, and soon all twenty or so of us on board joined in. Even Gavin started singing. When Jingle Bells was over, we sang Winter Wonderland, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. The sun was high in the sky, the air was warm for December, people were happy and it was just perfect.
I held my daughter close and took it all in. My heart was full.