What’s Making My “Heart Squeeze” Today

When I’m reading books, I notice words that authors repeat frequently.

Years ago, for example, I read a volume of inspirational romance novellas from the Crossings Book Club. I don’t recall any of the authors, I just remember that a character in one of them “sniffed appreciatively” at least three or four times.

This phrase stood out to me because, as a reader with an editing background, I found it rather distracting. Other times, though, I notice repeated words because I can relate to them in some way.

That was the case last year, when I read several books by an author who used the phrase “her heart squeezed” when a character experienced a poignant, welling up of emotion that she found difficult to express.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never sniffed appreciatively, but this heart-squeezing business has become quite a regular occurrence as I watch younger daughter Molly glide toward her teenage years.

The way I think of “heart squeezing” has nothing to do with cardiac events or chest pain. But it can—and very often does—have the effect of taking my breath away.

That’s why, while other bloggers may be writing about their OneWords for 2017 or compiling lists of favorite moments from 2016, I’m sharing something else this week.

You see, 11 years ago this very day, Randy and I met Molly for the first time. We were in Guanghzou, China, and she was just a few days shy of 13 months old.

It’s sometimes tough to watch the video from that first meeting because our sweet little pumpkin cried her eyes out through most of it. Knowing her as we do now, it makes perfect sense that she would react to us that way. She goes deep in her relationships, and it takes her a while to adjust to new people and new situations.

Back then, we had no inkling of all the personality, creativity and ability God hardwired into our daughter. We’re still learning, but we have a much better understanding now. 

And yes, it makes my heart squeeze. A lot.

Molly recently turned 12, and while she seems to be growing super fast at times, she’s also still little in many wonderful ways. This is something I’ve been savoring these last few years, precisely because I know it won’t last forever.

I don’t know when she will grab my hand in a parking lot for the last time, so whenever she does, I make it a point to enjoy it.

I don’t know when she will stop playing with the 15 Lego Friends sets that are spread out all over the upstairs hallway, so instead of getting annoyed at the “mess,” I smile as I carefully step through the landmarks of Heartlake City.

I could give other examples, but if you are blessed to have children as a regular part of your life—students, nieces and nephews, sons and daughters, grandkids, neighbors, etc.—perhaps you know what I mean.

You usually don’t realize a child is doing something for the last time until he or she doesn’t do it anymore. It’s too late to enjoy it then, but it’s not too late when it’s still happening.

So you stop and savor. And your heart squeezes again.

I’ve been thinking about what to say in this post for a long time—ever since I realized Molly’s Gotcha Day was on a Tuesday this year. Now that I’m actually writing it, I’m finding that the very nature of heart-squeezing feelings makes them hard to put into words. This makes me want to ditch any attempt at fancy writing and just tell you what I love about my girl.

I love how she changed the spelling of her name in fifth grade (from “Molly” to “Mollie”) because she wanted to do something different, but not too different. I love that, after years of dreading the start of school in the fall, she jumped out of the van on the first day of middle school and never looked back.

I love that she is a textbook introvert who is more self-aware than most adults I know. I love that, although she’s quiet and subtle—kind of like a gentle whisper, actually—she likes to rock out to TobyMac and the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

I love her techie nature, and how she always seems to find a solution to any problem I might have with my computer or phone. I love how she always remembers what I forget. I love the many creative uses she finds for string, wire, Legos and paperclips.

I love how she can make herself comfortable absolutely anywhere, and how she likes to build forts in the living room when she has a few days off school.

I love that her favorite food is rice and that she never met a variety of vinegar she didn’t like (and request to drink straight). I love that she’s teaching herself how to crochet by watching YouTube videos. I love her affinity for stuffed animals and soft blankets.

I love that she sends me emails during the day from her school iPad. I love that she signed up for this blog on her own and sometimes even leaves me comments.

I love her hugs.

I love her laugh.

I love that she is my daughter.

Happy Gotcha Day, Mollers.

P.S. Linking up this week with Kelly Balarie, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Holley Gerth, Lyli Dunbar and Grace & Truth.

43 Responses to What’s Making My “Heart Squeeze” Today

  1. Aimee Imbeau says:

    I love this, Lois. My heart squeezed at this: “You usually don’t realize a child is doing something for the last time until he or she doesn’t do it anymore. It’s too late to enjoy it then, but it’s not too late when it’s still happening.” because my oldest is almost 16 and there are so many things she did for the last time without me knowing it.
    Thanks for sharing this heart-warming post on Grace and Truth.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks, Aimee. It seems like these heart-squeezing things have escalated since I posted this, or maybe I’m just paying even MORE attention now. This is a part of motherhood you can’t really understand until you’re going through it, don’t you think? 🙂

  2. Awww, Lois. This post made me smile. Big. Our twelve year olds have a number of things in common (helping me remember things, an affinity for soft blankets, and more). Just today, I was thinking similar thoughts. My 12 year old was home from school (snow day). I had to bake, and he was so excited to help me. I loved it. We laughed, got a little goofy, and enjoyed making delicious muffins.

    You’re so right. We don’t know when will be the last time they do something. I am trying to store up all the precious things my kids do and say and keep them in my heart.

    Loved your words here!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      It sounds like you had a wonderful snow day with your son, Jeanne. We had snow here too. It wasn’t enough to call off school, but it was enough to play in AFTER school, and Molly did so enthusiastically (despite the frigid temperatures)! I don’t usually join her, but I love watching her through the window. 🙂 Our kids do sound very similar … so much to enjoy and appreciate! I love hearing about your children … thank you for sharing your thoughts today!

  3. Happy New Year Lois and thanks for visiting my site this week. Your post speaks to me in a few ways. First, I am thankful for an amazing copy editor when doing my book to help with the repeating of words:) I feel like she is helping me to become a better writer. Second, I have eleven nieces and nephews. I miss the times of playing board games with them or their being entertained by the simplest of things. Now, a few of them have their faces buried in their iphones and are learning to drive. Where did the time go? It’s a blessing to read you cherish these “heart squeeze moments. Molly… I mean Mollie is a blessing from God. Continued blessings to you and yours in 2017

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Your words brought a smile this morning, Horace. I’m glad you had a good copy editor for your book … I’ve experienced the same kind of learning with editors I’ve had over the years. “Where did the time go?” I find myself asking that question a lot these days! Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Oh my word. Your daughter subscribes to your blog and sometimes leaves you comments? She writes letters from school? Wow. She sounds precious.

    Mine do send me text messages. One from my son on New Year’s Eve stole my heart: “Love you, Mom. <3" Yes, we have to enjoy life NOW.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Yes, she is precious, Betsy. And you know what’s interesting? Her emails are usually short and straight to the point, nothing gushy or mushy at all. And yet, even that makes me smile. (As do texts from older children like the one your son sent you … so thoughtful!) And this: “Enjoy life NOW.” A message straight to my heart today, my friend!

  5. Heather Hart says:

    She sounds amazing. You are one blessed momma.

  6. Oh . . . that comment about the hand in the parking lot made my heart squeeze. We were just comparing hands at the breakfast table and my big boys are growing up waaaaaaay too fast!

  7. Lisa notes says:

    Sniffled appreciatively is definitely an ear-catching phrase. ha. I tend to notice when phrases like that are repeated also. I’m glad you’ve had lots of heart squeezing with Molly. How beautiful she is!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Ugh … “ear-catching” is a good way to put it, Lisa! It kind of soured me on the overuse of adverbs ending in -ly, that’s for sure! Thank you for your sweet words today!

  8. Oh Lois, how precious this post is! Especially that she signed up to receive your posts and leaves comments — how beautiful is that?!

    I can relate to the pre-teen years of my niece and nephew as they straddle that gap between childhood and teenager and appreciate all the things they might leave behind. My niece (who is 9) grabbed my hand on Christmas Eve as we left the restaurant and I know she won’t do that much longer! Beautiful and poignant post but shows how blessed you are to have two lovely daughters! Happy 2017! xoxo

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Oh, Valerie … thank you so much! Doesn’t it just melt your heart when your niece grabs your hand? The cool thing about them getting older is that, even though some things like hand holding fade away (or, in some cases, are adamantly forbidden in fourth grade) other things come along like deeper conversations and a keener sense of humor that are just as delightful! It’s much fun to watch these little people bloom and grow, isn’t it? 🙂

  9. Our youngest (of 4 children) just turned 1 and we’re realizing that this may be the last time we experience all the amazing milestones that infants and toddlers and children go through as they grow up, so we’re trying to savor them as much as possible. 🙂

    Your friend at Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up

    • Lois Flowers says:

      That sounds like a great plan, Joe! If I had a chance to do it again, I would definitely savor some of those earlier moments more too. Thanks for stopping by this week.

  10. Lilly Flowers says:


  11. Pam says:

    Happy “Gotcha” day! You have a beautiful family! I totally understand the heart squeeze. It happens to me all the time lately! Kids grow-up way too fast, and I want to enjoy every minute of it!

  12. What a beautiful peek into your mama heart and your daughter’s world. This makes me stop and consider to treasure the moments right now with my 8-year-old daughter. Visiting from #tellhisstory.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I know it’s sometimes hard to treasure ALL the moments, Sarah, but yes … there’s much to be savored with an 8-year-old, isn’t there? Many blessings to you and your sweet girl!

  13. Trudy says:

    I can see why your heart would squeeze, Lois. Your words certainly show how your heart is spilling over with emotion. Thank you for sharing the blessing and joy God gave you in Molly. I’m so glad Molly has a mother like you who not only loves her dearly but also allows her to explore and create and use her God-given gifts. That is special nurturing. Happy Gotcha Day, Mollie!

  14. Linda Stoll says:

    And I love that you’ve shared her world with us today. Sure beats a One Word or a new year’s resolution!

    She’s a beauty. And is so blessed to have you as her mama …

  15. Mollie Flowers says:

    Thanks mom. I love you to.

  16. Lydia says:

    That’s wonderful, Lois! And Mollie, I’m so happy, too, that we Gotcha! 🙂

  17. Kim H says:

    I love both your girls and am so thankful to know them, listen to you talk about them, and now to read more about Molly on this significant day!
    Kim Hurd

  18. Lesley says:

    This is beautiful. Happy Gotcha Day to you, Molly and the rest of the family. I agree, time moves on so fast- it’s important to hold onto these moments.

  19. Grandma Claudine says:

    Ah, Molly….. the sweetness of her brings tears to my eyes when we speak of her. What a wonderful gift she is to our family!

  20. Micah Maddox says:

    Precious! Thank you for sharing your sweet girl with us! What a beautiful way to capture the things that squeeze your heart a little tighter.

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