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A Lesson--Too Late | Not Quite Amish

A Lesson–Too Late


It’s been over a quarter of a century since I penned the poem below, and in the spirit of the “older women teaching the younger women,” I’m sharing the poem and a quiet nudge to you young mothers out there. Take time to breathe. To enjoy. To delight. To savor the still moments of the nightwatch. As my mother told me, these days will go by in a flash. (And they did–the four kids on the haystack are adults now.) CHERISH the moments you have with your babies and young children, for tomorrow … they will be grown.


By the way, you may notice mention of only three children in the poem … and four on the haystack. God has a sense of humor. I got the chance to follow my own advice and to cherish the moments. And I did.

A Lesson–Too Late

Had I known how quickly they would grow,
I would have cherished the moments more.
Those still, dark hours of night
When there was only me
and the smallest cheek to touch.
I would have marveled more at the utter satin-softness
and grumbled less about the lost sleep.

Had I known how quickly they would grow,
We would have rocked and cuddled close
long after sleep returned
To close those infant eyes.
I would have hummed more tunes
into the hush of night.

But nights grew long and I soon lost
The joy of my night watch.
I longed for my own pillow, then,
And hastily rocked, put back to bed.

And now they are gone–those quiet nights
While Brooke, or Zach, or Shannon
lay in my arms, holding tight
To my robe, lest I leave.

Now Brooke is grown–and Zach too busy being “stwong”
to cuddle much.
And Shannon learns to crawl away
And sleeps the night. “At last!” I think.
So uninterrupted nights return and
I’m amazed to learn
That I shed tears for those quiet times, forever gone,
Of nuzzling and baby grunts and sighs.

My infant days are over now —
a new season of life unfolds.
But I would have cherished those nights much more–
Had I known.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Stephanie Whitson (3 Posts)

Best-selling, award-winning novelist Stephanie Grace Whitson wrote her first historical fiction in the 1990s while home schooling her four children and learning the true stories of the pioneer women of the West. She celebrated her 20th year as a published novelist in 2014. In addition to writing, she enjoys giving programs on a variety of historical and inspirational topics for civic organizations and church groups, quilting, learning about the women of the past, and riding her motorcycle named Kitty. Learn more at www.stephaniewhitson.com .


  1. Kim in NC says:

    Thank you for this. I write this with our newborn laying on my lap. I was trying to type with my left hand (I’m right handed) while I held her, but that was too hard. She’s happy laying on her tummy on my lap. Our little girl is our unexpected blessing from God. We have 5 others, 16, 14, 12, 7, and 5. God gave her to us shortly after we celebrated our 20th anniversary. I KNOW how fast time flies. I am thankful for this precious baby and I do want to cherish her more but also to remember to cherish the others too. Thanks for this reminder, especially as our oldest is now driving, has her first boyfriend, and is about to start community college as we homeschool her too.
    Stephanie, I also enjoy your books. I have read almost all of them. I just finished Daughter of the Regiment. It was very good!
    God Bless,
    Kim in NC

  2. Kim, I so appreciate your taking time to write. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when they are so young. I remember when my oldest began to drive … that was a whole new world of learning to trust God with my children … remembering that ultimately they are His. But it can be hard to let go of them. May God bless and keep you and your precious family … and thank you as well for the kind words about my books. You made my day!

  3. Sharon Henson says:

    When my kids were small, I had this poem on my wall to remind me to cherish my time with them. The poem brings tears to my eyes now that my 3 kids are grown and have children of their own. I think I did do my best to enjoy those days, as I was a stay-at-home mom and home schooled them, but I miss them now. I did a search for this poem to see if there were any plaques made, because I wanted my kids to have this poem, but I’m not finding that there are any. Do you have printed copies that you sell? I did want you to know that your poem has been appreciated.

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