I have a small sign in my bathroom that reads, “The days are long, but the years are short.” That sign is there to remind me to pause before I get frustrated with my preteen daughter when she takes entirely too long washing her hair and brushing her teeth. In my defense it seriously takes her 30 minutes to brush her teeth. The sign reminds me to pause and live in the moment, to take a deep breath and realize that she won’t be using my bathroom forever and someday she won’t live here at all. She’ll be grown with her own family and maybe one day also have a preteen who takes forever in the bathroom.

Time goes by far too quickly and I find myself striving to live more in the moment and cherish the memories that I am making right here and now—and not always look to the next item to check off of my to-do list. But, saying that and doing that are two different things, and I strive to be mindful in order to take time to cherish my loved ones to the extent that they deserve.

In order to preserve our memories with loved ones, we first have to make them—and let’s take the time to make them really, really good. My favorite activity with my daughter is cooking and I’ve made an effort to savor that time together. We both focus on creating something delicious (or not because sometimes we do end up burning things…) and not always looking to what we’re going to do next or what spices need replenished after our activity. I find that if we focus on that short time we have together in the kitchen, she talks more freely about her days at school and her interests because she knows that I’m mindful, engaged, and listening to her. We’re both appreciating the time together as much as we’re enjoying the food that we create. That’s the thing about making good memories—it’s not about the perfect photo for Instagram or even the ideal recipe—it’s about that one-on-one time spent together and enjoying that small moment in time.

Small moments worth cherishing with your loved ones can be everywhere you look. We don’t have to intentionally carve out hours of time to make meaningful connections. We can spend ten minutes going for a short walk together or spend an extra minute wrapped in a big hug. We can share an inside joke or silently watch our favorite TV show together. Cherishing moments doesn’t have to be a big event. Some of my most profound memories with my grandparents are of watching Jeopardy! while eating peanut butter crackers. The funny thing about that is, I continue to buy those same crackers every week when I pick up my grocery order. For me, it’s more of a comfort of our shared memories and less about those packs of crackers.

I know the years are short. And I know sometimes we all have those long days and even shorter days. What makes all of the days and years worthwhile is being mindful of our time with loved ones and focusing on memories that we can carry on with us. My best memories are cooking with my daughter and eating peanut butter crackers. Take time to find and make your own memories and live in the moment!

Written by Blog Contributor: Jennifer Hicks