I have four sons ages 12, 10, 5 and 2. With so many kiddos in the house, it can be hard to give each one of them the individual focus that they need, so my husband and I both try to take each boy on a special date every now and then. As my two older boys have moved into the double-digits, I figured that they wouldn’t want “mom time” anymore. Boy, was I wrong.

Special moments of one-on-one time will forever be treasured up in my mind and heart like precious gold, and I will gladly ponder them as often as I can. - The MOB Society

Just recently I asked my ten year-old if he’d like to go on a Connor-Mommy Date, and he quickly said yes. But, then he gave me his best “Puss ‘n Boots” eyes and asked if he could plan the whole thing. I honestly didn’t know what to think. You see, Connor is my creative one. He’s my free spirit—part hippie, part monkey, part Pokemon. You get the picture. He’s an interesting little dude. So, when he asked to plan the date, I really didn’t know what he would have in mind. I asked him where he would like to go, and he quickly said, “The mall!” So, off we went.

We started out by walking through the bookstore and looking at funny books. Connor always loves browsing them, and of course, he likes taking a little sneak peek at the Pokemon figures as well. After that, we went and sat in the massage chairs. You know…the ones that have the little shiatsu back massagers that dig in and karate chop your back all at the same time? We agreed to do it for fifteen minutes. Connor squealed as the little massagers moved up and down his back. He was giggling so loud that the people who walked by couldn’t help but smile, and some of them even decided to join us in the chairs next to us. It was so relaxing and fun.

After our massages, Connor wanted to go to the lower level of the mall to ride the motorized stuffed animals. Yes, you read that right. And, yes, it’s as random and weird as it sounds. Picture an enormous stuffed animal on all fours with wheels underneath its feet. Now, imagine that it has a button that you can push that makes it motorized at around three to five miles an hour. Okay, now, envision yourself hopping on one of these babies and riding it throughout the mall. Yeah. You got it. Embarrassing and awesome all at the same time. And, that’s what my sweet ten year-old wanted to do, so we did it.

He hopped on a panda bear, and I saddled up on a moose. When we flipped the switches to get the animals moving, we quickly noticed that Connor’s panda was puttering out. So, I swapped animals with him, and I scooted along on his panda while he laughed hysterically. He laughed so hard that tears came down his face, and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself too.

We looked ridiculous! Okay … I was the one who looked ridiculous, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was how blessed I am to have Connor in my life. What a gift it is to spend time with him and call him my son. I love his sense of humor and thirst for adventure. I love his heart to help others and his tenderness with his crazy little brothers. That time on the motorized stuffed animals was fun and silly for Connor, but to me, it was one of those special moments that I needed to “treasure up” in my heart—like Mary did when she was raising Jesus.

In the Bible, Luke records two separate times when Mary “treasured up” moments with Jesus and “pondered them often”: 1. after the birth of Jesus, and 2. right after she and Joseph found Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem after losing him for three days during the Passover Festival. I’m sure she treasured up more special moments with Jesus in her heart than just these two, but I don’t think it is any coincidence that Luke specifically makes reference to these important times in Mary’s life as a mom. Jesus’ birth was anything but easy. Mary was young and uncertain of where she would actually give birth. She had to be exhausted from her long journey, and I can’t imagine how she must have felt when she realized that she would deliver a baby while surrounded by stinky animals. I also can’t imagine the immense joy and awe she must have felt when hosts of angels lit up the sky and proclaimed Jesus as Lord. I am sure Mary’s heart swelled with delight as visitors came near and far to come see the Chosen One, God’s son, and Savior of the World—her precious baby boy, Jesus. I’m sure she was overwhelmed and doubtful if she could fulfill the great calling that God had placed on her life. Even so, Mary chose to treasure up moments with young Jesus no matter what chaos was around her.

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:16-19

Mary knew that those moments—those sweet and fleeting moments of raising kids through celebrations and heartbreaks—are like gold. And, that’s exactly what Connor’s perfectly planned mother-son date was for me. Those special moments will forever be treasured up in my mind and heart like precious gold, and I will gladly ponder them as often as I can.