She won’t be four forever.

That’s my reminder to myself when I hear footsteps in the hallway and then see my littlest girl tumbling into my room.

The clock says it’s time for me to get up; I typically spend an hour working each morning before my daughters rise.

But then she climbs into my bed and snuggles close. She’s cozy and even though I’m wide awake, I stay here, our heads touching on my pillow, all the way through that planned hour of work.

Because she won’t be four forever.

She won’t be ten forever.

That’s my reminder to myself when my oldest wants to read extra at bedtime. We’re reading To Kill a Mockingbird aloud each night, with me skipping the questionable parts.

It’s also my reminder to myself when she wants to talk. She won’t always want to talk to me at the end of the day, I know.

I’m often feel rushed. The clock says that it’s time for bed, and I have plans for the time after the kids go to bed.

Sometimes —work.

Sometimes (although not often enough)—exercise.

Sometimes — television (my husband and I are loving Mad Men on Netflix.)

Often — quiet time to talk with my husband after the day.

Often — moments to relax, collapsed in my favorite chair.

I set aside those plans for a few extra minutes, and we read or we talk.

Because she won’t be ten forever.

She won’t be seven forever.

That’s what I tell myself when she creates a fun game involving the hose, an umbrella, and mud.

She’s exuberant and full of energy, and she’s happiest when she’s playing outside with her sister and their friend from across the street.

I cringe inwardly when the three of them parade in, muddy feet and soaked clothes, and I open my arms to hug her.

I feel my shirt grow wet from our embrace and my eyes trace the path of mud to the doorway. I hold on for as long as she wants, releasing her with a tight squeeze.

Because she won’t be seven forever.

Tell me something! What do you do to enjoy your children where they are right now? What reminders do you give yourself?