“I knew he’d like it, so I got it for him.”

I really love this picture of him. He’s not looking at me. He’s not smiling. He’s not moving. He’s just sitting…staring off…serious…handsome.
1.12.11-01It reflects a side of him that is sometimes hard to capture with my camera. He’s my oldest. Not one day have I ever missed the days when he was a baby. Not for one day do I wish I could go back and relive that time. Not because he was a rough baby. He wasn’t. I just think that if you really live in the present, you don’t miss it when it becomes the past in regards to loved ones that are still with you. I love seeing who he is becoming. I remember and cherish the days he used to lay swaddled in my arms and fall asleep. As fond as those memories are…I don’t want to go back in time. I want today with him. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Today.

I was almost so distracted by his younger siblings that I nearly missed what he said as he slipped something in my pocket on the school playground.Β  “Will you hold this? I got it from the Treasure Box today.” And he ran off to play. I stuck my hand in my pocket to pull out a little cardboard box with funny little snowmen on it.

I knew the minute I saw it that the puzzle was not for him, but for his youngest brother. He had earned a reward at school and instead of using it on himself he picked out a little puzzle for his brother. I asked him about it and he responded, “I knew he liked it, so I got it for him.”

Simple as that.

His little brother did like it. It was a thoughtful and generous gift.

“I knew he’d like it, so I got it for him.”

He is a normal 6 year old who can be selfish and fights with his brothers. I often wonder if he is getting anything I am trying to teach him. I’m grateful for a little Treasure Box puzzle that reminded me that he is listening when I don’t realize. He is watching. He is learning. He is getting it. Somewhere along the way my oldest has learned generosity and thinking of others before himself…and if I wasn’t paying attention I would have missed noticing.

“I knew he’d like it, so I got it for him.” Simple as that.

Makes me wonder what do I know that someone in my life would like…and what is keeping me from doing it or giving it?

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  • andy - that is so sweet
    thanks for sharing your son’s heart

  • jessica h - πŸ™‚ such a great reminder to live in the moment, especially with my kiddos. I will be sure to do that today!! thanks.

  • sarah - I read your post and because of the beautiful gesture of your son’s, today I will give something to someone just because I thought they would like it. What a sweet brother! I love the lessons we learn from children.

  • Lindsay - So Sweet. What a great big brother!

  • Erin Lee - Ahh!! I love this entry : ) What a testimony to the joy of giving and the patience of an amazing mama to notice <3. I love how the simplicity of children releases powerful revelation!! And Littlest brother is so smart when I was his age I ate puzzle pieces not solved them! Great post!!

  • amanda torres - The heart of a kid is so amazing. When I hear stories like this it makes me think of God’s love for us. Thanks for sharing!

  • Danielle - seriously. the sweetest thing.

  • Sarah Frost - such a sweet, sweet thing….out of the mouths of babes

  • Ana - This post got me to tears…not tears of sadness but tears of joy…educate a child is a very complex task and as they do not come with instructions for us to follow, we got to always use our intuition and we can only hope that in the end everything will work out … small demonstrations like this are the proof that you are in the right way and doing an excelent job… Congratulations.
    Love your post….Love your blog…

  • dawn - raising boys is an extra challenge since you are raising future husbands and fathers.

    he is well on his way.

  • Diana - Photos, feeling, beautiful words …

  • Fee - This lightened up my day :)!

  • Sadie - Precious. Love when your children think of others. Makes you feel like you are doing something right. Well done Ashley! Your family is precious! I really appreciate your words when it comes to living in today!

    (Oh and we have that same puzzle, and I thought it was a pain to put together! Maybe it’s just me, but some pieces looked like they went together, but they didn’t! HAHA!)

  • Allison - I got chills and tears in my eyes as I read this post! I pray my boys grow up like this too….always thinking, loving, and caring for others!!!!

  • danielle - Oh goodness, now I am crying again from reading one of your posts. Our second child did this in SK. They had a reading sheet and once filled they were able to choose a prize. Well he came home with an orange plastic necklace for his little sister. It hit me then, like hit you recently that yes, they do listen to our teachings and follow our examples… I melted that day with all the love I felt. πŸ™‚ Wonderful wonderful story and images… thank-you for sharing such a special moment.

  • Ranee - one of my favorite posts…thanks!

  • annie - I think you nailed it – enjoying the present. I love my kids, but I love who they are becoming. I’ve cherished the milestones – but I wouldn’t go back. I love now. I love the person my almost nine year old is becoming. I love his heart and his compassion. He and his 6 year old brother and almost four year old sister are all so different in so many wonderful ways. I think it’s healthy to live in the now – I’ve never been one to wish I could go back to college or high school or my twenties or whatever. I appreciate the time and move on. Kudos to living in your moment!

  • Debbie - I love the picture of Biggest Brother. I think I recognize the spot for the photo. Is it Behind the coffee shop near the shore of Kialua Beach? I was there this past June to visit my nephew, we spent alot of time there. I loved the Birds at the Coffee Shop. Small World!

  • Debbie - Was the shot of biggest brother taken at the Kialua Coffee shop?

  • Debbie - Sorry for the double post. I thought my computer was acting up, I got an error message after the first one. Have a great week, I am wishing I was at Kialua Beach right now. I have been snow bound in NC for 3 days now. Starting to get Cabin Fever!

  • lindsey - Ashley – I love your blog! And this is the sweetest post. I feel the same way about my 14 month old. People are always saying “she’s so big! don’t you wish she was tiny again?” and I tell people no, because I really love knowing her right now.

  • Andrea - I couldn’t hold back the tears. I think recording this story and your amazing photos will always be a treasure.

  • Kristin - Thanks for sharing. I think all of your giving to others is making a profound effect on your children to be always mindful of those around them – so nice to see siblings love each other like this.

  • ashley jensen - Dang I love moments like that. Helps me not doubt myself in parenting on those not so great days.

  • Lori - seriously , made me cry. thanks for a glimpse of wisdom, insight and a big dose of live in the present.

  • Jen Helbert - this was truly beautiful, ashley. well done.

  • Amanda - perfect. πŸ™‚

  • Tess S - incredible

  • Caroline - awwwrrr. that makes my heart melt. he’s such a sweet boy!
    His siblings are so fortunate to have him as their biggest brother! πŸ™‚

  • LeAnne - What a sweetheart! I’ve got a smile and tears at the same time. It really gets me when the little ones do something like that. There are no other intentions behind the giving, just simply to make someone else happy. Others should take note. If a six year old gets it, why don’t most adults? Thanks for sharing that moment with us!

  • anne c - this made me tear up….so sweet. you are doing a great job ashley…and thanks for sharing this!

  • Nori-R - Truly beautiful and moving. Brings tears to my eyes and must make you very proud. What fine men you’re sculpting.

  • amber - Thanks for sharing posts like this. It’s so nice to come here & be reminded of real matters. I love what you said about not wanting to go back with him. That you just want to live in the now. I’ve been working on that…it’s good to be reminded:).

  • emily anderson - we have some good kids.


  • giozi - I Think that this is one of your most beautiful post. It was really tender.
    I miss the past. I would like to have my chubby as baby again, because the first month when I have my boy was hard to her, and I feel guilty.
    Then you said, your boy is learning about you tell him.
    My chubby only fight with her little brother πŸ™
    I told you this before and I tell you again. You have a BEAUTIFUL FAMILIY.
    God bless you Ahsley. πŸ™‚

  • giozi - Me again. I forgot. I love the picture where you little boy has the puzzle over his nose πŸ™‚

  • Noel & Ben - Thanks for sharing, Ashley. He is a very sweet boy. Very often, we concern how much our children have learnt intellectually. However, most important of all is what kind of person he will be. I hope my son Caleb will be kind and loving too.

  • gina - Beautiful.

  • Krista Lund - love this post. reminds me that i need to pay closer attention and jot it down.

  • Melanie - Beautiful…tears coming from my eyes. Love the point about ” I just think that if you really live in the present, you don’t miss it when it becomes the past in regards to loved ones that are still with you.” Cherishing the time with my 3 and 8 year old is so important!!

  • Gevay - So beautiful. Those are the moments to remember in the not so wonderful moments!

  • ria - Sweet. I love it when my girls think of each other, it warms my heart. It makes me feel like I have accomplished SOMETHING. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hannah Bunker - That is absolutely precious.

  • Justine - what a sweet post, it got me emotional and i don’t have have kids!

  • Heather - what a wonderful big brother! love this post and his generous heart.

  • Shelley - This is my favorite post yet!

  • Liene - Wow, beautiful!

  • CharlaL - Love,Love, Love this!

  • caro - i’m crying, i hope my oldest boy be like your oldest.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Brooke - oh wow. i teared up on that one. what a sweet, sweet gesture from one brother to another.

  • Natalie - What a great heart on that kid’s sleeve! Thanks for sharing this post…worried about how my eldest is going to transition to being the oldest of 3…wondering if I’ll have enough love to go around because I already feel spread pretty thin. I appreciate your mothering/perspective!

  • Cassie - Precious. Simply precious. Makes me want to give my kiddos more siblings to love on. xx

  • kristi - LOVE this! That is what this life is all about. Great job, mom! Keep up the good work!

  • Denise - I don’t know him, but I want to! What a special young man. I hope you continue to recognize the simple things!

  • Heather - i want to be like him. simple as that. πŸ™‚

  • Moriah - Ok, this definitely hit me this morning (as I sit here crying). Yes, they are listening and learning, a great reminder to listen for the little details. Thank you

  • Rebecca - Sounds like you’re doing really great work bring up your kids. Your son will be quite the gentleman some day. I know you are very proud.

  • Alice H - I cried. What a sweet brother. I love seeing tender moments between my 3 kids that make me realize that I am doing something right. And that no matter how much they fight, they will always have each other.
    Love the picture of him sitting and focused on his thoughts.

  • Cherish Stockdale - That is so awesome! So nice to see little reminders that we are doing good as mothers! Love this!

  • Heidi Stukenberg - LOVE this post! I have followed you for years and you always hit me where it hurts (in a good way!). Sometimes it’s easy to live in the past with my girls instead of pouncing on today’s opportunities. I needed this today!

  • Joyce - Your children are so beautiful. Mine are grown, I want my babies back. Sigh.

  • Tina Smith - Thank you for making me cry :o) Simply beautiful…..

  • Melissa Perea - Beautiful post. Brought me to tears. Your life is utterly sweet.

  • Carrie Rosalind - Aww…so, so sweet. What a good older brother!

  • Heather - aww that is just so sweet.. it kinda made me a little teary eyed. what a great big brother!

  • Brittaney - This made my heart smile.

  • Courtney - totally made me cry…wow…
    oh, this parenting thing. it’s HARD on our hearts!

  • Dacia - Ok I’m all choked up. Drugged and in pain from wisdom teeth extraction… and now sniffling. But because this post was so sweet, like so many others of yours! Thank you for sharing.

  • Kirra Sue - what a sweet, sweet story. loved it. thanks for the challenge & encouragement.

  • Abigail - GREAT post…great reminder! I’ve been struggling with loving this time so much and wondering how the days ahead could ever be better, you gave me some super perspective today! Thanks!

  • Ang - Ah! I am sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading this! So needed this today. We are in the throws of potty training and I’m feeling worn out, exhausted, and disheartened.(The potty training is not going badly, I’m just in a funk.) Anyway, thanks for sharing. Loved this!

  • Krystina - Thank you for this post. It is officially one of my favorites. This was such a pure and simple moment.

  • Elisabeth - Thanks for sharing this sweet story. We’re iced in here in Atlanta now, and my boys are both climbing the walls and constantly at each other due to their cabin fever. This post was a good reminder to look for the little ways that they are loving each other, rather than blowing my top!

  • Jennifer - you make me want to cry. so sweet. thanks for sharing.

  • Megan - Brought tears to my eyes! Absolutley precious. And how I appreciate your insight on living in the present! Thanks for a beautiful post.

  • Shannon - That is so sweet, and I love how you live in the moment.

    My oldest is 8 and I often wonder about him too, but he thinks about his brother and sister all the time. They all do, not so much baby girl but she’s still little yet. I loved when they did Santa’s workshop at school because even though I wrote down that they had to get their siblings something, the boys took the time to really pick out a present that they knew the kids would like. Sometimes I don’t even do that, and I feel bad. Sometimes if it’s too noisy/messy/big/ugly I don’t get it and choose something they would still like, but that I like also. I need to stop that and just let them be kids. Although I might wait until one of them actually starts to help me clean up after them all!

  • Kim - I.LOVE.THIS.

    so much, so true… as a mom whose oldest is in her first year of college, a whole new dimension, but peel the outline from your story and lay it on mine, and it fits as well. Enjoy each of these moments and look forward to the ones ahead! Sooner than you know, you will be admiring a piece of art you helped God in making, priceless…

  • Jenny B. - MAN! I am all choked up now.

  • Leanne - what a sweetheart..

  • Katie - so sweet Ashley – love this post!

  • Georgia - your joy will continue…it is so wonderful to see your children (child in my case) grow up and turn into what God created them to be…sounds like he is well on his way

  • Maria - beautiful.

  • twirling betty - This moved me to tears. One of the things I treasure most is the relationship that is developing between my two little girls – a close and thoughtful bond of a kind I never had with my sibling. Like all kids they fight and act selfishly (unlike their totally perfect in every way mother, ahem) but more often than not they’re loyal supporters of the other. And your little fellow’s thoughtfulness towards his brother is heart-achingly sweet and kind. Pass me the tissues please!

  • Brooke Leigh - holy crap. this post is touching, seriously. I hope I’m as good at teaching my kids the values that you have successfully taught yours.

  • Denise - Thank you for sharing.

  • Carissa Miller - I cried not once, but twice. Sigh. I needed to hear that about living in the present. I am crying daily right now because little momma starts pre-K next year. I need to live in the present and not wish for the past.

  • jessica b - So cool. Wish you had a “Love it” button… simple as that πŸ˜‰ tee hee. Again, such a touching example of the kind of childlike love I wish to be reminded of more often. Thanks πŸ™‚

  • katherine - For the first 3 months of my eldest daughter’s life I listened as many people said to me “make sure you don’t miss a thing…they grow up so fast”. I started to really worry that I couldn’t remember every little moment. Until I decided that I liked the stage she was at. And I liked the next stage she fell into. And I began to look forward to seeing her grow and develop in stature and in character. I didn’t miss the past because I was enjoying each day and anticipating the years to come. It’s a great, fun way to live! Well done to you for smiling at the future and to your son for making the future a little sweeter with his kindness!

  • Just what I needed, but not what I deserved. |Just Us - […] then I read this. I realized how there are a lot of times that I’m not listening to the good stuff. The loud […]

  • nori - i don’t think i’m pms-ing, but i totally cried when i read this.

    ashley, i love how you capture the most incredible moments with your children.

    there is so much beauty in every day… thank you for seeing it, reminding us of it, and writing and illustrating it in your uniquely beautiful way!

  • Amber - What a beautiful post! I feel like you wrote this specifically for me since I’m having a hard time with my youngest growing older so quickly. Thanks for the reminder about living for today.

  • libby - this post makes my heart very happy. what precious kids you have. you’re doing a great job momma!

  • Deborah - What a very sweet post. Your little guys are indeed handsome, and what precious little hearts. thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  • Lacy M. - I just love, love your blog. I love looking at your pictures especially. I’m wondering if you use any kind of photoshop on your pictures before you post them??

  • trauma « Smalltown Lovin - […] this really moved me today! […]

  • ~abi~ - just beautiful! what a sweet guy. πŸ™‚

  • Kat - Wow, the same thing happened with me at Christmas time. My In-Laws took my three boys shopping and gave them each some money to spend on themselves. My two 6 year olds did just that, however my sweet, sweet 11 year old came home with a gift wrapped up for me for Christmas. It turned out he had bought me some turkish delight, which I absolutely love, but I did not know that he knew that. I was so touched. The gift to me was not the turkish delight, but the unselfish act of spending his money on me and not himself. I was very touched by this and still get emotional when I think about it. Having 3 boys is crazy at times and you wonder if you are getting through to them. These little gestures helps reassure you that you’re on the right path… and I think my hubby was secretly jealous too!!!!! PS – Hello from Australia.

  • Ann - So often your posts are so delightful that my heart feels like it could burst and a tear comes to my eye. thank you so much for these moments. Ann

  • Debs - its such an amazing moment when our children do that one small thing that means the most, touches the most and shows the most…the precious thing is….they don’t realise the impact on what they have done.

    i have a 6 yr old son who is just that way. innocent. loving. smart. funny yet he can be brattish at times towards his 14 yr old sister!!

  • Rachel - What a wonderful little boy! My daughter, who is 6 as well, did something similar last month. She won a little game from a prize box at school and her brother loved it. The next day she was able to pick something else and instead of choosing a new prize she picked the same game to give to her brother. I was proud of her for thinking about him πŸ™‚

  • Jenn from The Mustard Seed Blog - oh, I just love this! It’s moments like this in teaching that keep me going, too. A moment where I see that through all of the teenage-ness, they do get it!

  • Brooke Whitis - At the end of the day, that is the joy in parenting….right? The character of your children! Good job, Momma.

  • Jodi - What an incredible story. Precious.

  • Amanda S. - Why am I CRYING? Ah, the life with boys. The simplest gesture of kindness towards one another makes me weep.

  • Janmary, N Ireland - New to your blog, but delighted to “find” you.

    I love how precious this is, and in the busy-ness of life this sweet gesture could have easily been overlooked. But he wasn’t doing it to get praise, he was just doing it for love πŸ™‚

  • hearttypat - this post makes me cry!!

  • eva - congratulations for the great work your doing: raising your family and blog.

  • Mallorey - That was a very sweet thing for him to do. Very touching to read that.
    I bet you are very proud.