Finding the Perfect Present

giftsRecently I found some footage I had never seen on an old video camera. A few years back, my children had taken possession of my camera narrating as they recorded. They captured snippets of the world through their little eyes. How special to stumble upon these wobbly, imperfect yet perfect masterpieces.

As I filtered through clip after clip, joy flooded my heart watching them play and be silly together. My daughter filmed through the house. She introduced everything. “This is my mom’s room. This is my mom’s bed. This is my mom’s jewelry. This is what my mom eats everyday (as she pointed to the apples in the fruit basket.)” So sweet. She obviously looked up to me. Why had I not noticed? I knew girls watched their moms and wanted to be like them. I guess I just never noticed how I was the center of her world.

It was all so dear to my heart until I saw myself in the video. She stumbled into my office filming. I could hear her heavy breathing through her stuffy little nose. Focusing in on me, I was at my computer. I didn’t flinch. I didn’t even look up. I was so concentrated on what I was doing, I never even acknowledged Haley was in the room with me.

Not good. I couldn’t believe it. Where was I? What was so important I couldn’t stop for a few seconds to smile at my little girl?


(Now the opposite is true. I walk into the room and she rarely looks up. I can’t blame her. She learned it from me.)

But today is a new day. I will be intentional today. I will make today count. I will ask my children about their day at school, then I will listen. I love them, and I really do want to know about their day. So I’ll lay down my phone, tablet, laptop, or my to-do list, and I’ll act like it. I will show them they matter to their momma.

God has entrusted these (half-grown) babies to me. I’m their momma, and I get one lifetime to mother them. He’s called me to several things, but none is more important than my calling to my husband and children. I’m wife to David first, momma to Hunter and Haley, then all the other things follow.

Jesus is obviously the greatest gift of Christmas, but one of the sweetest gifts we can give is the present of our presence. I don’t mean our physical presence, I mean being really present—emotionally.  Listening. Learning. Laughing. BEING with them.

In finding those videos, I stumbled upon a beautiful gift.  A reminder of the gifts staring me in the face every single day.  My children.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. ~Psalm 127:3

15 thoughts on “Finding the Perfect Present

  1. laurabennet says:

    Thanks for sharing that honest look at yourself. Thank goodness our kids are so ready to forgive us when we mess up! I pray you will have a wonderful year filled with great joy, abundance of God’s Spirit and blessings and delightful moments with your children. 🙂

  2. Mary T says:

    Rivera, I have been browsing through some Advent emails that I had yet to read as I allowed myself during this season to just be more away from my phone… so tonight as I read your thoughts, I realize that even though I put it all aside as I tried to be more conscious of God’s Presence, the celebration of the birth of my Savior, that in His Presence, I need to be more present to my loved ones each and every day! A blessed new year to you and yours!

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      I thank God with you that you have pictures and videos Debra. I pray you have an amazing time making new memories with your oldest son this Christmas! Praying peace over your heart as you continue to grieve and miss your youngest! I still have the picture you gave me of the two of you. My heart grieves with you each time I see it. Much love!!! Feel Jesus wrapping His arms around you right now. ❤️

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      You’re so sweet Pamela. Thank you! Hunter asked how you were doing today. Kind of random, but that’s my boy! I told him I needed to see you soon to find out:) Merry Christmas friend!!

  3. Susan Meade says:

    So blessed to know that you are a good (great) momma to your babies, and know in my heart that you strive to be a better person to your family, friends, and all. Merry Christmas sweet one, love you! :~)

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