A few days before my wedding almost eight years ago, a good friend gave me some life changing advice.
It seemed so simple at the time, and it really is quite simple, yet most of us forget to actually do it.
She said, "Your wedding day is going to go by so fast; faster than you imagined. There will be so many people and so many things going on that, when it is over, you will barely remember the day.
"You need to stop every once in a while and think to yourself: 'remember this moment.'"
I took that friend's advice, and am very grateful as I can recall so many details from the day. I remember the exact moment of standing at the altar with my husband as he said his vows, our grandparents in the front rows, several of which have now passed. I remember the smell of the flowers in the garden where our receiving line was placed, and the speeches at our reception. Each time I attend a wedding now, I share my friend's wisdom with the bride-to-be.
The most valuable benefit I have received from that wedding advice was that it should be carried on throughout life. Not just the big moments - those are times we will always remember more clearly - but, more importantly, the little moments. The times when things happen in our lives that make our heart smile; when we feel that warmth of love and happiness, just because.
The other night, I asked my daughter for one, last, big hug before my husband brought her to bed. She squeezed tight, snuggled her face into my neck, and made it last about two minutes before letting go. I could smell the sweetness of her recently bathed skin, and feel her small arms wrapped around my body.
All I could think of was "remember this moment."
My son made a rainbow painting at school for his sister. Her eyes lit up with joy when he gave it to her, and she saw he even put her name on it in her favorite color. I saw the love he has for his little sister, thinking about her even during his busy day at kindergarten, "Remember this moment."
At the St Patrick's Day parade, my two-year-old nephew put his arm around my daughter as they watched the floats go by. Here was a two- and three-year-old standing along the sidewalk in an honest embrace. The kindness and love between cousins was so beautiful.
Remember this moment.
I could go on and on, I hope we all could.
As summer approaches and our schedules become filled with sporting events, barbeques, trips to the, lake and maybe some added stress, let's not forget to appreciate the little things.
And don't forget to stop and think, "Remember this moment."