Sweet Smell of PineSol
T. Suzanne Eller

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Matthew 19:14 (NIV)

I admit it. I'm the world's worst when it comes to preserving photos. I have boxes of photos stacked in various cubbyholes. I tried to organize the pictures once. I divided them and placed them in large envelopes. My next step was to put them in albums. They are still in the envelopes—stacked in a box.

Melissa, Ryan, and Leslie are now in their 20's and newly married. The chances of me ever getting these precious memories organized are slim to none, but I'm realizing something powerful. Memories aren't limited to pictures.

Remember when, Mom…? is a common phrase in my house now. We have become the hub, a privilege once reserved for my husband's parents. At holidays and special weekends, they drive up, unload luggage and pile into the guest rooms. We laugh and reminisce a lot around the table. Remember when we went on treasure hunts in the pasture? Remember when you jumped on the bed and popped Ryan up in the air so high it scared you? Remember that yellow Slip N' Slide?

I do remember. But I also remember a young mom who worried that her house wasn't spotless when an unexpected guest showed up. I remember the angst of trying to do everything and the fatigue when my day ended before my chores did.

But there were days that I threw caution to the wind and jumped on the bed, even though it might make others frown. I grabbed a shovel and gave the kids plastic buckets and we looked for old bottles and trinkets at the abandoned homestead nearby. We mixed Dawn dishwashing liquid and water and I laughed out loud as the kids flew like greased lightening across the yellow slippery slide. Some of those memories were captured in that pre-digital age, but most were not, but they are etched on the heart of my young adult children.

They reminisce about what we did together. They don't reminisce about the smell of PineSol. Whether my house was perfect or how it compared to others' isn't even on their radar. It makes me wonder why I worried about it. Is it good to have order and structure? Sure. But don't allow the pressure to be the perfect mom keep you from the beauty of simply playing with your children. The unmade bed will still be there, but I promise that a child will grow quickly and leave the nest.

Take a moment today and look past the clutter and the to-do list and play like a child again. It might not be a picture-perfect moment, but it will be a memory.

Dear Lord, time passes so fast. Slow me down, God. Let me enjoy the smallest pleasures around me. Let me play with my child instead of knocking down a to-do list. Let me laugh with my teen instead of fussing at him. Thank You for the sweet memories of today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
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Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parent Needs to Know by T. Suzanne Eller

Go to Suzie’s blog where she shares “Are You in Your Teen’s Cluster?” (Chapter Three of Real Issues, Real Teens) and check out her other books here.

Application Steps:
Carve out time today to play. Turn off the TV. Put down the schedule. It doesn't have to be an event. Just play.

Are you better suited to a schedule? Mark a day for play. Protect it. Give it the importance it is due.

s life too busy? What is one nonessential task or activity that you can eliminate?

Does play seem foreign to you? Jump on the bed. I know. It's crazy, but do it anyway. Break the seriousness cycle.

Will we really care that much about what others might say?

Power Verses:
2 Samuel 6:14, "David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might..." (NIV)

© 2009 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks just what I needed today. I have been too serious and not playing enough. Praise God that He wants us to enjoy and not work ourselves to the bone. He is SO GOOD and GOOD ALL the time.

Blogger Angie said...

I always say I am a kid at heart. Glad to see I'm not the only one.

I think it is all about finding a balance. I grew up with a mom that cleaned something ev-re-day. Our beds always had to be made. Rooms picked up and nothing left out of place.

I always wanted my daughter to remember different about me. That I was fun. That I would go out when she was playing and make those mud pies with her. Watch her as she learned to roller blade and teach her to ride her bike. Take her on nature walks and get so excited to find deer tracks. Maybe I did all this because she is my only child and I didn't want her to be lonely. But during this time we made so many memories. I always loved it when she came up to me, gave me a hug and would say "You're my best!"

These times do slip away so fast. I am glad that I have made those memories and do hear the "Remember when" conversations.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I do not have children and at this age never will, what a blessing to read for devotion! Should I had been blessed with children I wanted to be hte Kool-Aid Mom and not the Pine-Sol Mom! Good job to you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thahk you for the deveotion. I needed to hear that, I am convicted with the message God sent you with. I get so busy and sometimes I am not well organised and many times I misss the opportunity of making memories with my children. Instead of focussing on God and enjoying the blessings He gave me, I fuss about my 'near-teenage' son's bedroom not being tidy. Thank you God for your word and your messemgers such as P31. Lord please help me find a balance and to focus on you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like you am an empty nester. I was always too busy when my children were growing up, but now with grandchildren, I have been given a second chance. Last night the kids dropped in while I was mopping the floor. The mop was put away, with only half the floor done & a game of kick ball was on. Thank God for second chances.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me to appreciate the beauty and fun of children! Great devotion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reminder that balance is important. Being a mom of 4 year old, we dance, sing, and I'm his primary playmate. It sometimes drive me crazy that the floor we are dancing on needs to be mopped. But, I am learning to schedule in cleaning times and stick to them so that cleaning does not interfere with spontaneous fun! Thanks so much!

Anonymous Suzanne Eller said...

Thanks for the comments. I love hearing your perspective. Come over to my website for a giveaway of a book that just might be a blessing. Your visit will be a blessing to me...

Suzie (T. Suzanne)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your words and perspective - I'm one who often gets caught up in keeping order rather than enjoying life! This was great encouragement!! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone as a mom of 3 and 14 year old sons the Kool-Aid Mom vs. Pine-Sol Mom is encouraged by these words of love. Happy 4th too! God Bless.

Anonymous Jessica said...

This is very encouraging to me. Thank you for a great devotion! Pray for me to be the mom that creates wonderful memories with her children. I have a four year old son, and a twelve month old daughter. I am so thankful for my precious children.

Anonymous Wisdom is Power said...

"Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls.
The balls are called work, family, health, friends and integrity.
And you’re keeping all of them in the air.
But one day, you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball.
If you drop it, it will bounce back.
The other four balls - family, health, friends, and integrity - are made of glass.
If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.
And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life."
---James Patterson

Blogger Tammy said...

I am a mom of 2 little boys (3 & 1). I struggle so much with wanting a clean, organized home, and getting my to-do list done every day. Thank you so much for this devotion this morning. Just what I needed. Rain may be in the forecast today... puddle jumping anyone? Thank you.

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