When Time Stood Still

As I sat in the Emergency Room with my 6 year old son, I pulled his feverish body close to mine and rubbed my hands in his hair.

Not exactly the way I planned to spend Father’s Day.
My son had been feeling badly most of the weekend.  In our home, the squeaky wheel gets the most oil and, well, he’s not squeaky. E-ver.  He’s so unassuming and easy-going that by the time I realized he was really sick, his temperature was 103.8 and his throat was so swollen he could hardly swallow.  He needed antibiotics and, of course, the only thing open was the ER.
And so, I left my hubby home with a napping toddler and an 8 year old to answer his ringing bell.
As we waited, I held my son’s small hand in mine.  I traced his jaw line with my finger and noticed a couple of new freckles.  I watched his dark lashes grace his cheek and the rhythm of his breathing.  
Can I just say that I enjoyed every single minute of it? Not that he was sick or that we were sitting and waiting, but just the quiet of the moment, to take him in.  
And notice.  
How did he get to be so big?  My chubby toddler with curls was long gone.  
Three elderly people walked in and sat across from us. The husband escorted his frail wife in front of us to address the gash on her forehead.
They left a sweet 73 year old lady in the waiting room, named Emma.
She watched me stroke my son’s head.  We started chatting.  She was visiting her sister and brother-in-law from Ohio.  Her sister was very ill with Alzheimer’s and she wanted to see her while she still remembered.  She shared that it was hard watching her sister lose her independence and struggle with daily activities. Just a few minutes before she had fallen and cut her head on the dishwasher. 
Emma told me she lost her own husband just six months ago, after 43 years of marriage.  ”I don’t like living alone.  It’s hard.”  She shared that she had eleven children- ten sons and one daughter. Her daughter died when she was 36 years old with a brain tumor.  She told me about her new job and how she was trying to live a full life.  She told me her deceased husband’s favorite joke and smiled kindly at my son.
There was nothing to pity about Emma.  She had a sparkle in her eye and a beautiful smile.  
We were still talking when my son’s name was called.  She stopped me and said softly, “That was my husband’s name, too.”
And something in that moment, made me want time to stand still.  And I think it did.  Just for a minute.  Long enough for me to realize that it doesn’t stop.  

But I should.  
Because every day my kids are getting older.  My parents are aging and one day I will be old.  I might be alone, like Emma. And I want my eyes to sparkle because I have lived well.
I think my intuitive son sensed something about that moment.  He squeezed my hand and once we were settled in another room, climbed into my lap.  
“Mom, I don’t have to get married and move out one day. I can live with you forever, okay?”
“Forever?”  I asked.
“Well, maybe me and my wife can move in with you.”
I hugged him and whispered to myself, “Stay six all day, okay?”
Time stood still and I noticed.

Comments

  1. Nicole says

    Awww, that warmed my heart! What a sweet story…and a good reminder to us all to take time out to just live in the moment.

    :)

  2. says

    my son and I have a standing deal that he will buy the house next door and we will talk to each other over the fence every day. If only…

  3. says

    Thanks for the story … my husband and just talked about how time has NOT stood still. 5 years ago we bought this house and had one son … 5 years, 3 pregnancies and two sons later .. who would have thought 5 years have past … especially watching the oldest at 11 1/2.

    BUT, we do have sweet memories and are trying to live each day God gives us WELL!

  4. says

    When I first saw “emergency room” I thought, “Oh no, they really are THAT family!” the one that is accident prone, but so lovable.
    Well, that may be true, but once again you’ve shown that you are also the family that handles these things with grace and so much love. You are the family that anyone would be blessed to know.
    I’m glad I do, if only through this medium.
    Thanks for the reminder to cherish today.

  5. says

    You really got me with this post. But you know what I thought was so very special? It was how you chatted with that elderly family. That doesn’t always happen. What a gem you must be.

  6. says

    You got me teared up again. I can totally relate – my son will be 9 in a couple of months and is growing so much and really changing before our eyes. I get emotional about it pretty regularly and am always telling him that he MUST stop growing (I am teasing him, of course, but why can’t it be a little slower?)

    You are right; we have to slow down and take it all in now.

  7. says

    Good reminder to watch and wonder as my kids sprout up so fast.

    Thanks for sharing that moment. It really is those “moments of engagement” that can give us a glimpse and be life altering.

  8. says

    My husband I were talking yesterday
    about how affectionate I am towards our children.

    Those moments that you shared with your son are priceless. Noticing the structure of their bones and the changes that have taken place in their features.

    Being able to witness the moments of my children lives is one of the benefits that I enjoy, being able to stay at home with them full time.

    They grow so fast yet time rarely stands still.

    A beautiful post. Thank you for inspiring.

  9. says

    I love that you talked to a little old lady you didn’t know! I talk to everyone, my husband will never understand how I can find a friend were ever we are. I am so sorry your boy is sick!
    Very sweet story!

  10. says

    Wow-what a gift! No, gifts-you were the receiver and the giver. You took a moment to marvel at your precious child-they really are at their most childlike when they are sick. Then you touched the life of a sweet lady and gave her the gift of a beautiful memory and the chance to share. How touching! Thanks for sharing this story and I hope your little guy is doing much, much better!

  11. says

    That was so beautiful and touching. Thank you for sharing. I have often said that I am sad and happy that my children are growing and becoming more independent as the days pass. *sigh* You really put more perspective to the process.

  12. says

    very sweet! My little girl has assured me that she is NEVER getting married so she can live with me forever. Her little friend boy at church keeps telling her they ARE getting married. Just in case she asked if she could live next door to me and I assured her they could…now she has been practicing the dance they will do at the reception! Luckily she has at least a good 15 years or so to work on it…at least I hope so!

  13. says

    Those are my favorite moments. The ones where nothing is happening, and lazy gazes are allowed. When a cuddle goes unnoticed, and a passing hand over the head is welcome.

    Thank you for reminding us to embrace these moments!

  14. says

    I thought the same thing this weekend, watching my 4 year old that only yesterday it seems was my 4 pounder! He’s too big for his car seat, and just growing up way too fast…

    Sweet post.

  15. says

    Man your either a really good writer or I’m just really sappy, today!

    I had a very simular Father’s day with my 4yr son but it didn’t include an ER visit or an moment to fully grasp how fragile life is, only an on the couch at a family BBQ all day long with a very upset stomach, did I say all day long. I’m thankful these little tikes are so resiliant!

    Today as I post this my 3yr old is on my lap and isn’t feeling well, so I guess I will have more time to reflect on these gifts of HIS to us, Thanks for the reminder!

  16. says

    Those times DO pass quickly, but are replaced by very precious moments spent with a grandson in your arms, looking up into your eyes like you are the best Grandma EVER!

  17. says

    I’ve asked for a pause button every Christmas, but He keeps letting time tick on by.

    On Emma: I’d like to smack her T-E-N sons who are letting her live alone and be lonely. Waaaaaaahhh!!

  18. says

    Great post. I hope your son is better. My daughter use to tell us that she would live with us forever. Now she is 18 and can’t wait to move away for college.

    Enjoy these times ….they pass by way to fast!

  19. says

    Great post. I hope your son is better. My daughter use to tell us that she would live with us forever. Now she is 18 and can’t wait to move away for college.

    Enjoy these times ….they pass by way to fast!

  20. says

    once again i stop by for a visit and leave with tears!

    what a beautiful, beautiful post.

    i have to think that you and emma were meant to have that moment for some reason. it’s even better that you noticed it and cherished it.

    i hope your son is well today!

  21. says

    What a beautiful post. You truly have a gift with words. This brought tears to my eyes. My son has also been telling me lately that he doesn’t want to get married, he wants to live with me forever. I too wish I could freeze time!!

    I also think it was great that you talked with this women during your special time with your son and during a potentially scary time in the ER.

  22. says

    This was truly one of the most beautifully written posts I’ve ever read. You left me sobbing…not that it takes a lot in my emotional state of letting go of my oldest daughter..praying and wishing that just for a few months time would just stop. I too pray that if that day ever comes for me….my eyes will sparkle too. Thank-you…a million fold…thank-you.

  23. says

    Very touching, thanks for sharing. I am looking for a way to live next to my parents, now that I have been gone for 30 years I find it important to do that. However my son JUST called and wants us to move near him six hours away. It is nice to be wanted, but so hard to be torn. Thanks for the nice post.

  24. says

    Beautiful post. They do grow up so fast. I still lay in bed a night and think about when my 20 year old and 19 year old were babies or toddlers or even school aged. And I wish a could go back and and just freeze one of the moments like you described. Wow. It all rushes by so quickly.

  25. says

    What an absolutely beautiful post! I stopped and noticed how big my 3 1/2 year old son is getting. I gave him a big hug and told him he’ll always be my baby boy! :)

    Hope your little guy is feeling better soon.

  26. says

    after reading that i’m ready to go throw my computer in the trash and move into a cave with my man and children.

    just to slow down time a little more.

  27. says

    Aww. Aren’t moments like that the best? My Dad is 61 and my grandmother is in her 90s, but my grandmother can talk about my Dad being a baby like it was yesterday. These are the days to remember! Cherish them. They’ll be taller than you before you know it.

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    http://anapronaday.blogspot.com

  28. says

    what an amazing story. I have to stop myself in the middle of all that is choatic with raising kids and remind myself that these moments will fade and I need to take them all in.

  29. says

    Beautiful! I am always aware how fast time it moving and there isn’t a thing we can do about the pace, except to make the most of it on this first and only try we get.

  30. Mrs. Querido says

    Not only was it a moment that caused you to stop and cherish your little one, but you blessed Emma too..I’m sure of that! So many people are too busy to sit and listen to an elder reminisce. But they have value too. And they have wisdom as well.
    Thank you for the timely reminder to cherish the ones I love, be they big or small.

    Blessings!

    Mrs. Q

  31. says

    Ok I’m totally crying here. About Emma, your son, you…the whole scene. I think it has something to do with my son turning one in a little over a week and me also wanting time to stand still.

    I hope he’s feeling better! And that the 8 yr old attended to your husband very well while you were gone.

  32. says

    What a very special memory! I hope your sion is feeling better! How wonderful for you to make Emma’s day. How many times do we hurry about and pass a lonely elderly person. We could stop, make time stand still and enjoy a new friend.

  33. says

    What a sweet moment, and how wonderful that you were able to focus on the positive and not be upset that you were at the ER on Father’s Day.

  34. Dodi says

    Wow, my first time on your blog and you brought me to tears!
    I secretly like it when my babies are just kinda sick b/c they will let me snuggle them all day long.
    Hope your baby boy is better!

  35. says

    We all need those moments more often! I think God put you guys there at that moment to help heal that elderly woman’s heart. She probably needed someone to talk to, to open up to, even a stranger. *HUGS*

  36. says

    I’m all choked up and heading to hug my kiddos now. They jump from newborns to toddlers to kindergarteners to newly-licensed drivers all too quickly. Trust me, I know of what I speak!

  37. says

    Ok I’m crying.
    After some of my life experiences I am a full believer in living in the now and not taking anything or anyone for granted.
    Thank you for sharing your sweet story.

  38. says

    Thank you for the reminder to enjoy my daughter as she is and not to rush things. Since we are potty training we have been putting an emphasis on being a big girl, but I’ve been sad about the other ways she’s growing up and not needing me anymore. I hope you son is feeling better!

  39. says

    WOW, that was a great post. I think we get so caught up in the busyness of our days and it’s nice to slow down and stand still.
    Hope your son is feeling better. I hate it when my kids are sick, but i agreed with you about liking that quiet time you actually get to spend with them. That snuggle, laying still, calmness that being sick brings.
    The story of the old lady talking to you was sweet. I am always striking up conversation with people in public and i could see myself talking to her and just reflecting on life as you explained it.
    Have a wonderful rest of the week!

  40. says

    So, I am totally bawling now. Thank you! THat was a wonderful experience for you even with the fact that it involved ER and sick boy. I have decided recently that I need to spend more time just experiencing and enjoying rather than running to and fro trying to get things accomplished….. thanks so much for sharing.

  41. says

    What a great moment and at such an unexpected time. Those are the best kind. Thanks for sharing it with us and reminding us all to take a moment and enjoy life. Just tonight, after my 4 year old got out of the shower she looked up at me and said “Mommy, you’re not yelling” – I said yes and I like it that way.

  42. says

    Oh my gosh. How very, very touching. I don’t even know what else to say, but I love meeting older people like that, don’t you? It’s almost a gift that comes to you when you need it, but didn’t know you needed it.

  43. says

    Now that was a fabulous post. I’m all teary now but that was such a wonderful reminder to enjoy each and every moment with those you love and never take anything for granted.

  44. says

    I keep reading more and more of your posts and feel like you are writing the very same things that are in my heart, about life, parenthood and kids. I hope to become a new regular reader. Thanks for that beautiful story, keep up the good work.

  45. says

    How inspired you are. An incredible mom that you are. Thanks for stopping and noticing and then reminding us all to stop. Our kids are only “little” for a little while. i know that I will stop-thanks for the reminder! I appreciate all your posts. You are once great mom! Thanks for the insight.

  46. says

    I love your story – it made me cry! I would love it if time would stand still just once in a while. Before you know it, he will be all grown up with kids of his own and you can tell them stories like this. I now have 3 1/2 grandbabies and my 5 kids are all grown… oh, I wish it would stand still.

  47. says

    That is *such* a sweet story. I’m sorry that your son had to be sick for you to experience it, but I thank you for sharing. Love your blog…I’ll have to stop by more often :)

  48. says

    Ugh! I hate when blogs make me tear up! I feel like such a loser…my husband will look at me and wonder why in the world I am crying and then I have to explain that someone I do not know and have never met had this sweet story etc. And then he looks at me like I am crazy. Thanks alot!

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