The Weighted Moments That May Be Passing You (& Me) By

“Will you cut my mouth?” he asks, holding out a butter knife towards his pumpkin.

We’re gathered around the kitchen table, five pumpkins and five people. Slimy seeds with dangling orange pumpkins strings are being slung into a glass bowl for later, and we pass the stencil blades and tiny plastic saws around between us.

My six year old son and I brainstorm the expression he wants his pumpkin face to have, and I slice and cut features for him. Swingy jazz music plays in the background, dirty dishes stack high on one of the counters, and everything has stopped for an hour or so as we slip into family time.

“This year for Christmas, can we decorate lots of cookies?” my daughter asks, staring intently at her pumpkin face as she carves.

“Sure.” We talk more of customs, and it intrigues me to know more about which holiday traditions and times together have been meaningful for them. John stretches out across the couch by now, all of us done with our pumpkins except Morgan who is painstakingly following an idea she found online.  After some thought, John brings up simple moments from his childhood, walks in preschool years, times alone with special loved ones, and it hits me.

Most of our special family moments aren’t the huge scripted ones. They are the small cumulative times that build each year: an hour here dicing out pumpkin faces; a squeezed in afternoon there spreading red frosting onto chunky gingerbread men; but mostly, it’s the happy moments around the dinner table before someone has to leave, or the ordinary evenings at home with a family game or movie.

I can see it now, how often my nineteen year old likes to linger in the kitchen as I wash dishes or cook supper, pulling his long legs up onto the counter or into my small desk chair, while we talk about the day before he rushes off to work. Those moments hold weighted value now tonight as I see them for what they are: precious, and building a foundation of family memories.

“Mom, is it time to light the candles now?” Daniel asks, all six years of him brimming in excitement.

(And it’s not about Halloween, because we’re careful about those themes, yet are thankful for times to connect with and meet our neighbors.) It’s about the excitement of doing something as a family, building a memory each time we gather together. Today, it was with pumpkins, and faces, and autumn leaves. And the memories captured here are precious.

What are some things you enjoy doing with your family or friends?

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  1. Marja Verschoor-Meijers on October 31, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Doing 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles or having a bbq together where everyone brings a dish!

  2. Bill (cycleguy) on October 31, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    We have never really been a crafty family. i didn't start doing jigsaw puzzles till long after they left. My wife is not a craft-minded person. We enjoyed sports, particularly baseball so we would try to go to games together. Our girls were involved in sports so we would attend, watch, play. Now that they are gone, Jo & I will sometimes go to a movie. We like to eat out (which has slowed down since she retired). we really like to sit at home reading, she likes to watch TV, I like to do puzzles. Sadly none have picked up the love for cycling I have. 🙂

  3. Jayne on October 31, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I love the talks my 19 year old and I have when he comes home late at night from a friends house. As tired and sleepy as I am, I wouldn't dare tell him to go to bed. Even if he tells me the same story he has told me before, I just treasure every word.

  4. stuckinindiana on November 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    This was a perfect Saturday morning read for me… as we had to opt out of visiting neighbors & friends in our costumes last night due to sleet & snow and very cold temps. Instead, we sat on a blanket on the floor… 3 generations… eating pizza & watching "The Prince of Egypt"

    Our home dynamic has changed over the years. But, family time has remained a constant & valued way to spend our days!!

    Thanks for your post,
    indiana girl 🙂

  5. TC Avey on November 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    What fun pictures!
    Yes, life happens in the little moments. Those times can make the most difference in our lives and in the lives around us.

  6. Cheryl Barker on November 7, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Love this, Jennifer. You are so right. All those moments spent together as a family make a huge difference in building the family bond. Traditions are super special, and it's fun to see which ones your kids carry over into their adult lives. Blessings to your family!

  7. Jennifer Dougan on November 12, 2014 at 12:22 am


    Forgive my delay in replying, please.

    A 1000-piece puzzle or bbq sounds nice! 🙂 have you tried the puzzles where the edges aren't lined? Phew!

    Jennifer Dougan

  8. Jennifer Dougan on November 12, 2014 at 12:26 am


    Sports are fun when done together as a family, for sure. Movies and reading sound peaceful too. No bikers? Sorry. 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan

  9. Jennifer Dougan on November 12, 2014 at 12:27 am


    Yes! Aren't those talks with our 19 yr olds special?! And with my 15 and 6 yr old too. 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan

  10. Jennifer Dougan on November 12, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Stuck in Indiana,

    Your sleet and snow must have hit us next, with a slight delay! It came Sunday night here and is still snowing. 🙂

    I can just picture your movie night on the floor with pizza and three generations! What a special time.

    Jennifer Dougan

  11. Jennifer Dougan on November 12, 2014 at 12:33 am


    Thank you. 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan

  12. Jennifer Dougan on November 12, 2014 at 12:33 am


    yes, isn't it fun to see which ones our kids carry on or ask for?

    Enjoy your kids this week too,
    Jennifer Dougan

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