Life…in Retrospect

I stopped by Mother’s the other day. She was sitting at her desk in her office. “Sometimes I wish I could do it all over again,” she said.


“Motherhood. Remember how it feels to bring a new baby home from the hospital? You put them over your shoulder and pat their little bottoms. Sweetest weight in the world.”

“And kiss their soft heads. People tried to tell me how fast it would go, but I didn’t listen.”

“Me either,” she said. “I just thought, I’m tired of folding diapers, getting supper ready, making formula, and feeding the dog.”

“Wish we could go back for a few days. I’d hurry less. Laugh a lot more.”

“I wouldn’t talk near as much,” Mother said leaning on her typewriter. “If one of you wanted my attention, I’d stop putting the clothes in the washing machine or reading the mail, or even writing, and be quiet and listen.”

I smiled imagining the thought.

“Another thing,” she said. “Making sandwiches. I’d cut them in half and trim off the edges. And I wouldn’t pinch y’all in church.”

I laughed. “I’d forgotten about that.”

She turned from her typewriter to face me.

“And never in a million years would I scream unless the house was on fire,” she said. “I’d make homemade Christmas cookies and let ya’ll decorate them. I wouldn’t care that the kitchen got messy. I wouldn’t make you and Jennifer sleep in tight pink sponge rollers every Saturday night. I’d never lock y’all out of the house and make you drink out of the hose while I was writing. I’d smile every time I looked at you. No more frownie faces.”

“You’re smiling now,” I said.

“You are too.”

“Anytime we talk we’re making a memory. A memory happens when hearts connect.”

“And when someone really listens,” she said.




  1. o my…tears…I would do some things different too J…sigh.
    I love your mom and you

  2. I think when life is so hard — the folding diapers, enduring the fussiness of a baby, cleaning up spitup, trying to get work done with kids on your shirttail, when you can almost never find a moment’s, it’s so hard to see past it all to truly value what’s right in front of us. We’re aware of our blessings and count them, but it’s hard to fully embrace them because we’re so tired and distracted by so many things. Years down the road when the dust settles (I know, there’s always new kinds of dust flying, though!), that’s when we can look back and then treasure all we had. But “had” is the key word, isn’t it?! I was flipping through an Amtrak magazine one day (I call it a dream book because I love train trips), I suddenly became overwhelmed as I flashed back to a train trip to Colorado the kids and I took more than 15 years ago. I saw the innocence of their young faces, their youthful excitement and how much fun we had together. It just caught my heartstrings and for a few moments I was grieving their childhood. Grown men now, all of them. We still make memories together, but it’s different now. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine and could revisit those memories, but I guess I’ll have to do that with pictures and reading my old journals, looking at home movies and just — remembering. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could fully appreciate those old times as they are happening instead of once they’ve passed us by? Sigh.

    Thanks for sharing from your mom’s heart, Julie. I loved this 🙂

    • That’s exactly what Mother said, Julie….when I told her we could still make good memories. She said, “It’s different though…not that you all are grown.”

      Love your words. You always know just what to say.

      Praying for you….

  3. Wow, what a beautiful reminder!! What can we do with the time we have left? Listen and laugh more. LOVE this, thank you Julie!! I regret pinching my kids too:)

    • You pinched your kids????? No way!

      Thanks, Tom. “What can we do with the time we have left?” That sums it up, doesn’t it.

  4. Brenda Greene says:

    Grabbed my heart this morning, Sweet Julie!

    Being a tad younger than your Mom I can SO relate! Busy raising a young family, I too, have a list of “wished I had’s”. However as I watch our two amazing daughters raise their young families and dedication to their chosen careers (ER Nurse and Elementary School Teacher), I’m humbled that I can be their biggest “cheerleader” and not only listen to their complaints but offer praise and encouragement – whether on the phone or a random text. Our first-born and I shared a chuckle just this week when she called on her way to another 12-hour night shift in the ER. Her parting words, “Mom, I feel so bad calling and unloading on you and not even taking time to hear what’s happening in your life.” I assured her that her dad and I were fine and I didn’t mind being her “garbage disposal” because when we hung up I would just “flush it”! We hung up laughing!

    Thanks for the precious sharing of you and your Mom’s reminiscing…thanks for sharing! Brenda

    • Brenda, what a precious comment. I totally agree. Both of our daughters call me daily…Means SO MUCH to me. And your sweet daughter recognized that she was doing all the talking. Really, we don’t mind at all. I guess that’s what moms are for.

      Thank you for writing and letting me know it touched your heart.

      So much love to you and yours!

  5. another “good un”

  6. “…when someone really listens…” Isn’t that what we all crave? Isn’t that what God is ALWAYS there for? Sometimes, when I need not just listening but a few uh huhs, or hmmms, or yups…I call a good friend. Like you. You rejoice with me, you feel my sadness and pain with me. You listen. God puts heavenly friends on this earth to help Him. He put you here for me.

    So happy you have your sweet mom to share with you. To listen now to each other. Priceless.

    • Yes, yes, yes, yes, B.J. THat’s exactly what we crave. To be heard. You are an amazing listener. It’s a skill not everyone has. So rare!

      If I thanked you every day forever, I could never thank you for all the listening you’ve done for me. You even pause to give yourself time to absorb what I said. 🙂


  7. Okay, that just tugs my heart. How we all wish … but somehow, I doubt anyone will ever be able to do that. Still, it makes me realize just how wonderful Heaven will be, when there are no deadlines, no messes, no judgement if we’re too noisy or too sloppy or too anything! Life here makes Heaven sweeter.

    • Amen, Sister Ane. Hope we get to live right next door to each other in heaven. Imagine what kind of plotting we could do?

      Love you, my friend.

  8. Arie Strobel says:

    Tell Marion I don’t think drinking out of the hose is such a bad thing…but you can’t tell them to do that here in South Florida – the sun heated water coming out will burn their mouths!

    Just leaving a light message although this post dredges up deeper feelings)

    • I sure will, Arie. She’ll love knowing that! And God had a plan–even in our hose drinking days. Mother taught me to love words.

      Grateful for your friendship.

  9. Pat Garczynski says:

    Thanks, Julie, for writing about Marion’s honesty. I am reminded of the scripture that says: “Confess your faults one to another that you may find healing.” Her head on the typewriter hurt the hurting places in my heart where I, too, grieve for seemingly lost days/opportunities with children who are now grown. I think we do this especially if/when any of these children are struggling deeply, and we blame ourselves. Come, Lord Jesus – heal us and set us free from guilt.

    • Beautiful thoughts, Pat. I’d not thought of that Scripture. Thank you. We had such a sweet moment talking and pondering and even laughing in her office.

      Love to you today.

  10. YOu know what: I always think I should ahve done ALOT of things differently and been a better Mother. BUT, just today, in this process of moving I came across a pile of cards I have gotten over the years from my kids. EVERY single one of them had a hand written note inside telling me what a wonderful, awesome, giving, loving etc., etc. Mother I was. SO, I guess I did SOME things right. Tell your Mom to look at her old cards….if she saved them. It will do her heart good. XO, Pinky

    • I LOVE cards, Pinky. And especially from my children. I’ll tell her what you said. And it ALL works together for good–even our mothering boo-boos. XOXOXO

  11. Well Miss Julie – you did it again – another cute and precious story about your fantastic mom. Love her, for…well I was still wanting someone to cut my crust off. Nobody did, ha! My goodness, if we all laughed more, everything would be better. You tell your cute mama she has spent the better part of her life not only holding up a family in her loving arms, but making people EVERYWHERE laugh, feel better, know there is someone else “out there” going through one day at a time, and doing it with grace. God bless you sweet Julie, but tell your mama – I love her – and she has made me look for years in the “contents” section of the Guidepost scanning for her stories. No offense to anyone else, but forlorn when she wasn’t in them. Grateful you are carrying on in mama’s footsteps. Oh, and we all got pinched in Church, it’s only proper in the South. I may still have a mark! 🙂 Love you, Alisha

  12. Alisha, maybe pinching in church IS a Southern thing. I bet you’re right. 🙂 I’m calling Mother and reading her all these sweet comments. Tomorrow, we should make sandwiches for ourselves and cut off the sandwiches!!! Funny, how the little things matter, isn’t it!

    Thank you again. Hugs from Georgia. ~~

  13. Shelley Elaine says:

    Wow-I really needed to hear your mom’s thoughts-thank you so much for sharing. After reading your post, I stopped and intentionally listened when my 9 y/o was telling me a story and she actually thanked me for listening (bittersweet). Didn’t even realize that I had been taking her sweet stories for granted. THANK YOU for the timely reminder to do better “with the time we have left”.

  14. Ohhhhhhh, Shelley. That’s what matters!!!! Yesterday Mother said something like, “Well, if me telling the truth even helps one mother, it’s so worth it.” You have such a tender heart, my friend. You made a memory with your daughter…opened the door to keep her talking to you. Which can change as they get a tad older. :-/

    Thanks so much for telling me (us). You made my day!

  15. Janette says:

    I love your post. I think some of those memories are the smiling kind. The pink rollers, drinking out of the hose while we were playing out side (giving our mothers sanity breaks) and then I laughed about getting pinched in Church. I survived and don’t have any bruises or scars from that but it sure makes me smile (and I am sure I deserved those pinches!) Give your mom a hug from me. She is great!

  16. I sure will, Janette. Thank you so much for reading and “getting” me…us, I should say. 🙂

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