Trying to Stop Time

By Kate Riley June 5, 2010

We interrupt our regularly scheduled DIY blogging to bring you this sentimental post. 

twirling girlYou’ll have to forgive me for disappearing for a few days – I’ve been busy trying to make time stand still for just a moment.   

With my youngest daughter finishing kindergarten, and my oldest stepdaughter graduating from high school, it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks when I was watching my youngest twirl with her friends on her last day of school.

When it comes to the time you have with your children, time never stops, in fact it flies at light speed. 


I met my hub and his three year old girl in 1995, and that little angel crawled up on my lap and completely stole my heart.  Over the years, I’ve been blessed to watch her grow from a toddler to a full grown adult, and all it happened in the blink of an eye. 

Fortunate for me, as a stepparent, I’ve been able to experience so much of what comes with the joys of parenting.    


m with kitty

I was there when she brought her first pet home with all the promises that she would care for it always, forever and ever, every day. 

The cat ran away two weeks later, and we never saw it again.

But then there was a guinea pig, with all the same promises. 

And then there was a dog, with all the same promises.  

Yes, we indulged her, fully aware that we were the ones who’d care for the family pet most of the time. 


I’ve watched her play multiple seasons and countless hours of sporting events from middle school through her senior year, even carrying her team to the regional championship this year. 

m sports


I’ve been there for the homework, the school projects, even the report on Albert Einstein and the accompanying costume.   I’ve loved watching her spirit and gumption – how she loves to take on new challenges without fear.  

    m school surfing       

I watched her bloom over time from a pretty young girl to a teenager with braces. 

m youth braces


I’ve loved watching my daughter grow from a little girl who used to play pretend dress up to a beautiful young lady, both inside and out.    

m princess prom

And after witnessing all of this, you realize as a parent that the child never really belonged to you at all.  You were only given the wonderful gift of temporary custody for a brief period of time.    

I wasn’t prepared for the series of emotions from the last two days.  I’ve felt joy, pride, excitement, happiness and sorrow, and I’m already missing that sweet little girl that forever stole my heart.

I am so proud that she is headed off to an incredible university in the fall, but my heart is so heavy with the thought of the empty space in our home. 

 swirl snip

So my message today is simply this. 

Forget the laundry and the dirty dishes.  Check your email later.  Close your computer and put down your phone.  Ignore Facebook, and forget all about Twitter today.   

Go make some memories with your child.  Read to them, play with them, hug them and love them.  Be there for them when they stumble and when they are victorious – they will always remember that you were.  And even if they don’t remember it all, you will treasure the memories made.  Make your legacy your presence in their lives. 

Because it’s only a few moments until they go from this . . .



  . . . to this.

m grad

And then they fly away.  

Time is an unstoppable force.  It’s become abundantly clear to me that you can never stop time, so you must, without fail, cherish the moments that you are given.    



  1. Beautiful post. Time does pass so quickly. They seem to change so suddenly. I agree, it is so important to spend this precious time with them while we can.

    Thank you so much for taking some of that precious time this week to judge our little contest. We really appreciate it.


  2. Beautifully written. Thank you for the reminder. My little girl is only 4 (almost 5) and I wonder where the time went.

  3. You never know what this is like until you’re there. And you realize that this is what you raised them for, but you don’t want it to end. I know. My oldest daughter got married six weeks ago, and my second, a son, will be leaving for college in 11 days, only two weeks after graduation.
    But the memories.
    Does that make us old?

  4. What a lucky girl, both of you! I love this quote by Anna Quindlan:

    “But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less”.

  5. Oh so true! Mine are 9, 5, and 4 and I know I forget to appreciate how important these days are! Thanks for the reminder! PS Your daughters are beautiful (confident)! You must be so proud!

  6. So beautiful. I’m having those exact feelings today as my baby turns 5 today and will go to kindergarten in the fall. I remember when they were all toddlers/babies saying I can’t wait until they’re all in school and now that time is here…I can most definitely wait.

  7. Exactly! My son is graduating next weekend. How did this happen?! I was just changing his diapers and teaching him to ride a bike. It’s good. It’s what we prepared him for. But it’s all hard on a Mommy’s heart. I am definitely a “be in the moment” kind of girl. Thanks for the reminder. Lisa~

  8. I write as the child, (well adult since I am 24 now). I am the youngest of four and got married last year in October. I was the last child to leave the home, moving 10 hours away. I can’t believe how fast time flies. I love my parents unconditionally, they have taught me so many things and gave me unconditional support through every trial in my life.

    Trust me, your children will always remember all the wonderful things they did for them, especially the little things. Congrats to you for getting your step daughter through high school and raising a beautiful girl!

  9. My daughter will be 28 in a week. She has memories of growing up that overlap with some of mine. Its interesting to compare memory versions of the same incident/time. But I love hearing the ones she remembers, that I don’t recall at all. Simple things, like she loved the two of us sitting out on the patio in the summer snapping two big bowls of green beans from the farmstand. Just snapping beans and talking. It was special to her. You never know what your kids are going to remember.

  10. So well said! I can not believe how fast time has gone by. My oldest just turned 25. How can that be?

    Your daughter went from a beautiful little girl to a beautiful young lady. I wish her luck with school in the fall. And your youngest looks a lot like her!

  11. HI Kate –

    I have a post in draft form about how fast my daughters have grown and I am having such a hard time finishing it as I get too choked up everyttime I work on it. I promised myself I had to do it today as a birthday gift to my husband. He never knows what I am writing about and only sees my posts when he gets them in his e-mail. I know he will love it and I am trying to make it all the more special for him. As of this week we have become official “empty nesters” and it takes some adjusting when you are so used to the house being filled with their presense, laughter, and goings-on. Even writing this note to you telling you about it is bringing tears to my eyes. They do grow up way too fast and it is so nice to see how you have enjoyed your stepdaughter throughout the years. You are equally blessed to have your two little ones to enjoy and as you know – they are want counts the most in life, nothing else even compares.
    My best – Diane

  12. Precious! God is good!…well done Mom & Dad!..ok let me go over here an tear up for joy.:-)

  13. As westerners we are planners and seem to always be planning for the future. A business associate was in from Russia yesterday and was explaining to me that Easterners don’t do that. They savour the moment, the journey. THis made me think that I shouuld do more of this as well.

  14. Your killing me today! I’m now getting off the computer and going to play blocks with my little one. Thanks for the reminder of how fast time goes! Congratulations to your daughter!

  15. I am not a mother but your post brought me to tears. What a beautiful young lady you have helped to raise. Thank you for such a heartfelt post.

  16. Lovely post. Congratulations on a job well done! I felt the same way when my first child went away to college two years ago. Believe it or not, you will love them even more as young adults. xoxo

  17. Made me choke up! She is beautiful and you must be so proud at all that she has accomplished and all that she is poised to achieve. My mom always said that it was spectacular to watch her girls find themselves after high school.

  18. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl! You both are lucky to have each other in your lives!

  19. Kate- This was an awesome blog! Your daughters are beautiful. My Husband & I have been trying to get pregnant for the past 2yrs.
    This was a very heartfelt blog….and your daughters are soo very lucky to have an awesome, talented & creative Mommy like you!

    Good Day,

  20. Such a sweet post this morning. brought tears to my eyes. I have a 2 1/2 daughter and a 6 month son. I have to admit I constantly fret over the laundry and dishes. This s nice reminder to just absorb and create memories with my kids.

  21. How sweet is this? I have learned even though mine are kindergarten and 4th grade with me having surgery, I’ve missed so much these past weeks! You really do need to savor every moment!

  22. She is lovely. Congratulations!

    And your advice is exactly my plan today. For today- we start teaching our almost-five-month-old son to swim!

  23. Mine are still babies and I already find myself wondering where the time goes. Thanks for the reminder to just stop and “be” with them. Gorgeous kiddos, Kate!

  24. Okay~ so now you made me cry! lol.. That was the SWEETEST post ever! She has grown into a GORGEOUS young lady! Congrats;o)

  25. Beautifully written!

    As the mom of 6 (we each had 3, the oldest being 30 and the youngest 17) I feel so very blessed to have been part of it all. I too wish I could have stopped time.
    Now as the youngest, the only one left at home, talks about his future & what comes next I can’t help but wish we could start all over again.

    My advice: Ask yourself if whatever you are doing will matter in 5 years. If the answer is no then leave it and immerse yourself in the moment, dance in the rain, make forts in the living room, cook together, sing badly at the top of your lungs, camp out in the backyard, listen to their music, get to know their friends… all goes too fast & is more precious than anything.

  26. I’m all teary-eyed, even though mine are only 3 and 19 mos, but I still sing a little lullaby to them everytime I put them down that my mom sang to me: “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’til tomorrow, for babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow, so quiet down cobbwebbs and dust go to sleep, I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep…Such sweet sentiments about your two daughters…

  27. kate, this was beautifully written. mine are 2 and 4 and what scares me the most is having to let them go one day. we give them roots and then eventually the wings to fly. but in this scary world, i wish i could keep them close to us forever.

  28. All I can say is Thank You. As a mom of 4, there is always something needing to be done. Thank you for reminding me that my children are only with me for a short time and there are memories to be made and that the laundry can wait. Sincerly, Serra

  29. This is absolutely beautiful. You are a wonderful mother. You have summed up all the emotions a mother has as their children grow. My son will be 2 next month but I can already picture in my head is graduation day. We all wish time would slow down!

  30. What a beautiful post. My boys are 11, 8, and 4 and for some reason I get the most nostalgic watching my youngest. I just don’t know where the years are gone, but I do cherish every precious moment I have with them.

  31. Beautifully written. My son just turned seventeen and went out with the car for the first time yesterday and as he pulled away I thought to myself…seems like just yesterday I was telling him not to eat rocks. Time does fly…thanks for sharing this.

  32. Thank your for the beautiful post and reminder to cherish each moment. I will follow your instructions and turn off my computer now :-)
    ps… Check out Kelly Corrigan’s book, “Lift”… letters to her girls as she realizes how short this time really is. You can find video clips of her reading passages on youtube.

  33. You made me cry too! With a baby girl brewing in my tummy and coming any time, and a toddler that’s adding new words to his vocabulary every day…it really made me wish I could put it all in slow motion on my video camera and cherish all the tears and successes! As a stay at home mom I am definitely guilty of getting too preoccupied in the every day chores and responsibilities sometimes and not noticing the little things. Thanks for the reminder!!

  34. Your daughter is lovely, and blessed to have such a loving stepmother. I too am a stepmother, to a charming little 11 year old girl (I too met my husband when she was 3) who also stole my heart the day I met her. Though we only have 10 days a month with her, those are some of the best days of my life.

    Thank you for touching my heart with your beautiful story today, and for reminding me just how precious and fleeting time truly is.

  35. How wonderful for you and your daughters. Mazel Tov on all the accomplishments! I was lucky enough to be able to be able to be a mostly at home mother to my children. My own mother didn’t want that and we all grew up. “Mother” is both a noun and a verb but it is not a place (c)(hmm, that’s all original , so please consider that copywrited) My children both wanted to go off early to prep school abd I had to swallow my tears and not let them see. However, I have found that while I still see little “ghosts” , the reality of my now-adult friends and their now-adult friends and their very interesting associates are also interested in our careers. We have gone from reading little golden books to talking about, say, the international monetary crisis,from schoolground boo-boos to infectious diseases. I used to sew and do needlework for little children and now I do for adults (well, until some new little children come along, God willing ; >

  36. Very, very wise!
    And that empty space in your home-
    not so empty!- memories and love, with plenty of space for all the new experiences!
    You are blessed to realize what many of us don’t ever notice- life is precious, the way it is, right now.

  37. I, too, had my last of 4 graduate yesterday. Congrats to you on what appears to be a young woman with poise and confidence. It is such a bittersweet time for parents but oh so exciting for these enthusiastic youngsters. I am filled with dread facing the end of August, when we will set our little bird free, but this is the job we are given as parents.
    I can only hope her memories are as joy-filled as mine! Good luck in the fall, dropping her off and driving away, it is one of the hardest moments, but the joy your children feel to “be on their own” is so worth it. As this is your first to go, savor every moment of this precious summer with her, even as she gets snippy towards the end of her time with you, she is just as anxious as you are. It is a new chapter for her as well, and very uncertain. Patience is a big word and a hard virtue.

  38. I’m crying reading this! I’m just beginning this journey with my sweet baby boy turning 3 months old last Thursday. I’m already packing away his newborn clothes! I think I can relate to what you must have went through some years ago because I’m also a lawyer and feeling so conflicted about returning to work. My heart just wants to be with my family and cherish every moment. My son has really helped me to slow down and just be in the moments we have together. Thanks for this post.

  39. What a beautiful post, Kate!
    My daughter will be 2 next month, already! I can’t believe how fast time goes!
    Your daughter looks like she because a wonderful and happy women!

  40. Crying my eyes out.. I can’t imagine! My son is turning 3 in August and my brand new baby…. who is not so new anymore is turning 1 in August! I can not believe it and I don’t want them to grow up! I can’t imagine not being able to hug them anytime I want and not be able to teach them every single thing they know! Breaks my heart! =( Crying again…

  41. Well now I have a lump in my throat the size of a baseball. You’re so right. I’ve been thinking about how fast “Mom Time” flies lately, too, and how some days I wish I could just stop time for awhile. What a beautiful post, Kate! Thanks for the reminder. :)

  42. Very beautiful post and yes is tru the time past very fast.
    We must enjoy every moment with them! Thanks for the reminder


  43. Oh, Kate, I so appreciated this post! :) I just got home from a few days in Texas. I thought I’d LOVE the time away from the constant demands for crackers and “just one more cartoon” and laundry and all of that…but I actually missed it (after the first day). :) I loved the photos and story you shared today. I like it when bloggers take a step away from their normal posting to share what’s on their hearts. :)

  44. This is such a beautiful post. I am so touched by reading this, I hope you share this with your step daughter. What a supportive relationship you obviously have!

  45. What a beautiful post. Great photos and memories too. Time certainly does fly. There are 11 years between my (not so little) brother and I. I remember the day he was born, his first steps, his first day of kindergarten. Now he’s all grown up, graduated and I am amazed that so much time has gone by and yet I feel like those moments were just yesterday.

    As much as I love a clean and organized home, the message I’ve seen from many bloggers is clear-make your kids the priority and you’ll never be sorry you did. I can’t wait to have children one day and make wonderful memories together. :)


  46. Beautifully put, thank you for sharing. I’m going to get a kleenex now- no joke :)

  47. WOW. Your daughter is drop dead gorgeous! Wishing her all the best when she goes to college in the fall! My oldest starts high school in a couple of months, and I know it’s going to fly by!!

  48. That is such a beautiful post… wow. And it makes me feel good that my blog is not the most updated thing lately, as I’ve been enjoying the first days of summers with my two little girls.

  49. This really made me smile, thank you for sharing your thoughts and inner feelings. It just tugs at our heartstrings when our children do exactly what the intended purpose – to go on in this world taking with them the lessons and values we have given.

    Recently I became a grandmother, my only child had his first child – a son. As I gazed at the baby my eyes watererd up thinking about that exact moment I held my son and wondered what life had in store for him. Now, I’m thinking about my grandson and hoping that life will be good and he will be a good person too. God blesses us in many ways through our children.

  50. Great post Kate! I’m sure she feels lucky to have someone like you for a stepmom. Also, your youngest daughter and stepdaughter look so much alike in their toddler pics! Thanks for such a “feel good” post.

  51. OMG, my eyes filled with tears reading this post. Maybe I’m just a sap, but seriously– beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

  52. Love this post Kate!! I understand how quickly time flies by, my third child, second son is graduating high school on Friday and will be leaving for college in Minnesota in August. I’ll be down to one kid at home :( I’m so proud that he, like his brother and sister before him, is using his wings and not afraid to take flight.

    Congrats to your daughter and family!

  53. Aww, Kate;
    thanks so for this lovely tribute to your precious “bonus” daughter…. my eyes filled as I read this…. and I too hope it will be included in her memory book…. she will certainly treasure it.
    You’ve provided me so much DIY inspiration, laughter, and now, beautiful words only a mother’s heart can fathom completely. I have 3 sons, but God has blessed me with 2 ( so far) lovely daughter in laws, and 3 adorable grandgirls….. as well as 3 grand boys….. You truly spoke for all of us moms and g-moms…. How we wish we could hold time still……. but thankfully, pics and memories of these shared moments are there to remind us the gifts their lives are to us.

    Here’s to continued love and laughter around the house!

  54. :o( I have a 2 year old daughter and a 1 month old son and I look at my little girl and wonder how she got so big. She’s not a baby anymore and I feel like I can’t remember how it happened. If you find a way to stop time please make a tutorial for us. :o)

  55. She’s so lovely – I loved reading this so much. I think the same about my son who’s about to turn 10 – it feels like yesterday his the baby boy in the high chair laugh and trying to talk :)

  56. This made me CRY! Beautiful post. My oldest daughter just finished 2nd grade and my youngest is startng kindergarten. I can hardly believe how the time is flying by.

    Thanks for sharing…! Love the gorgeous photos, too. What a beautiful young lady!

  57. Oh my goodness. I got teary eyed too! And I’m only a college freshman. T___T You’re wonderful Ms. Kate.

  58. Stop trying to make me cry. Just attended the Kindergarten reunion last night – all those kids are finishing eighth grade this week. It did seem like yesterday they were running together and now they are big and running together. Enjoy it all – they can’t go back to the small, snuggly stage. You try to get that eighth grader that is six feet tall in your lap. Funny – but he does still try!

  59. I am going through the same thing. My youngest graduates from high school in 2 weeks and then off to college in three months . . . and then my husband and I will be staring at each other from across the dinner table wondering where the time went. It’s something I think about every day. I was so fortunate to be able to work from home while raising my kids, therefore allowing me to be there for almost every event – minor and major and everything in between. I stopped worrying about a messy house long ago. Two boys, two large dogs, lots of friends running in and out. Oh how I love the noise and activity. I will take the pandemonium any day over peace and quiet and clean.

  60. Oh, what a beautiful post and a beautiful young lady! My oldest is off to his first summer camp Wednesday, and I’m struggling with knowing he is becoming a young man – not my little boy. So now I’m off to heed your advice and savor the moments my boys are young and at home!

  61. The old song …. “You must have been a beautiful baby, because you turned into a beautiful girl” rings out loud and true for both of you! [not sure if those are correct words but point is the same]
    What a great picture collage.

    May her walk through life be filled with lush, green, sun-filled valleys, her climbs be on gentle slopes not sharp, rugged mountains and her moccasins always cushion her steps on the path of honor.

    gentle hugs,

    Brenda J.Moore

  62. Oh, Kate! This is such a beautiful and touching post. I’ve had a horrid two weeks with family issues, and by family issues I mean my sister is the devil. It’s true. :)

    So reading this lovely and meaninful post has brought happy tears to my very tired and sad eyes.

    Your daughter is very lucky to have you for her mom.

  63. I stopped by thru a different blog, BNOTP and just had to comment as I celebrated my youngest child’s graduation on Saturday as well. As I am reading your post and looking at the pictures it so hit home as to how fast those years have gone. I am very surprised that I wasnt more emotional on Saturday but we do the dinner/dance one night and the ceremony at the end of June. I am sure that will be the night reality hits me. So many memories, and so many missed opportunities that I can think of…I dont regret anything but wish I had more of a chance to do a few more things that financially werent possible at the time…My hope for her is that she lives her dreams and she has a wonderful life, however that presents itself…She knows I will always be there for my baby girl!! :)

  64. I know what you’re saying. My firstborn son got married on the weekend. Talk about bitter/sweet moments!!! BTW, his wedding day was beautiful, with a beautiful bride, my first daughter!!

  65. I am always viewing time as sand, slipping through my hands. It goes too quickly and I try my darnedest to stop it….but I can’t.
    So I embrace it and slow down as best I can.

    Beautiful post.

  66. You totally tweaked my heart with this post. You’re in such a unique position to see the passage of time…with one leaving kindergarten and one graduating. Sigh.

    My oldest just finished kindergarten and I have this deep desire to hold onto every possible moment of this summer. I know that I’ll blink my eyes and he’ll be going off to college. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it.

    You’re step-daughter is so beautiful. I’m sure you’re crazy-proud.

  67. That makes my heart hurt some. Definitely needed to be told to slow down. My baby is 4 and asked me yesterday when he will be 9. I’m not ready for 9!!

  68. This is beautiful, so well written. And I feel the same way as a mother myself. You took the words right out of my mouth! That’s why I’m a scrapbooker, to preserve the memories because I know I won’t remember later. But sometimes I need a reminder, so thanks for giving me one.


  69. This was a beautiful post and brought tears to my eyes. You are really lucky and I hope someday when I have kids I can look back and feel this way too.

  70. This is awesome – as parents we talk about this, we recognize its importance and we plan to do it – but we still let things of less priority steal our attention. Thank you for posting, I will refer back to this when I [once again] loose my focus. Great photo journal as well!

  71. Hi Kate,
    Beautiful and touching post. Well said. We do our best to make them fitfulul for a good life, we nourish them and watch as they get their wings….spending time with them is never enough. Creating memories as you say is priceless..thank-you!!

  72. just read this one thoroughly and should i say i got damn too emotional !! very innovative post for all of us parents to spend more more time with kids. I know, you are a marvelouus MOM, no matter it’s Step or natural. Proud of you. thankx for the post.

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