To My Grown Up Son

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
March 7, 2000

Ask the parents of grown up children
And they will tell you
It is better to be able to say “I am glad I did”
Than to have to say “I wish I had”

My hands were busy through the day
I did not have much time to play
The little games you ask me to
I did not have much time for you

I’d wash your clothes; I’d sew and cook
But when you’d bring your picture book
And ask me please to share your fun
I’d say “a little later son”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night
Hear your prayers and turn out the light
Then tiptoe softly to the door
I wish I had stayed a minute more

For life is short and years rush past
A little boy grows up so fast
No longer is he at your side
His precious secrets to confide

The picturebooks are put away
There are no children games to play
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear
That all belongs to yesteryear

My hands once busy now lie still
The days are long and hard to fill
I wish I might go back and do
The little things you asked me to

By Alice E. Chase - from The Poems of Alice E. Chase
 New York: MWG Books, c1975


  1. Those words ring too true and leave an ache in my heart! Thank you so much for posting. Unfortunately, my little boy grew up to be a big man and was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident September of 2011 at the age of 26. The contents of the above poem is exactly what I was thinking about when I wrote my article on my blog entitled “Give It A Rest Already”. To anyone out there raising children, and I had 3 kids in 3 1/2 years, the messy rooms, the handprints, spilled stuff and annoying noises do cease one day and if you are anything like me and like that person who wrote the poem, Alice Chase, once everything is still and the years pass and you feel that whole in your heart, you will wish you spent more time with the kids.


  2. I don’t know of any parent who would say, “I wish I had spend less time with my children.” I remember bringing our firstborn son home from the hospital, just a little mop of hair in a blanket on Mommy’s lap like it was yesterday, and he’s 41 years old already. If you still have them at home, treasure them, even if at the time it seems like a waste of time. One of the things I’m so thankful to God for is that our four kids still love us, and we’re still a family, though in four different states.


  3. In the end, until my children and I are much older I won’t know how I did as a parent. I can say this for certain: I do a much better job than my dad did…and my dad did a pretty good job of raising me. For now that’ll have to be good enough.


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  5. Even grandparents need to heed this poem. I know that I am one of them. Before long, my oldest grandchild will be driving me places instead of the other way around. Electronic divices can steal them away from us too. It is so much more relaxing to play scrabble, or candyland than being hooked on angry birds!


  6. You do what you can. You love them the best way you can. You make mistakes. You muddle through somehow. And then you let them go, because that is the most loving thing you can do for them. It’s tough, being a parent, and you don’t sign off shift until you’re dead.


  7. I can relate…they grow up so fast, making us proud Mothers. We may not have done all we wanted to do with them but when all is said and done, Father will say, “Your son? We did good!”
    Thanks for posting!


  8. I will always take reading, sitting, talking, cuddling and playing with my kids over housework every single time. Thanks for your post. Sometimes I feel like I’m failing because my house isn’t as tidy as others, or my yard isn’t as groomed as others, but this reminds me that I’m spending my time on the things that matter: my family. A clean house and a tidy yard is only going to stay but just a moment. A life invested in will invest in another life and therefore last forever.


  9. Oh this is so true! If only we could go back and do some things over. I tell my son these things now that he has little ones of his own.


  10. snosler said:

    110% agree … I would rather regret doing something than regret never having the balls to have tried …


  11. Right now I am far from home on ministry, but when I get back home there are some things I will do differently; this article has given me the needed impetus.


  12. Kerri said:

    I have never regretted taking the time to give my full attention but always regret when I don’t.


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