As we are getting ready for our youngest daughter's wedding, our middle daughter's new baby to arrive, and our youngest son to go into the Air Force it gets that old mind churning asking, "Where did all that time go?" It seems as though it was yesterday I was changing diapers, giving baths and playing barbies. Gosh, I would dig in the dirt with Jake and play Tonka trucks for an afternoon. We would all play jump rope with a rope their daddy searched for and cut.
Our oldest daughter is home for a while from Kuwait, until moving on again. Our oldest son is still in college getting his masters in teaching. It seems like yesterday I met them for the first time.
It seems as though we spend our life time raising our children, but in reality I think our children grow us. I know I am not the same person I was before my first child. And with each one added my life changed forevermore. I was no longer that person living for myself, but I was that mother and wife, now thinking of these little lives before me and the man who stood at my side through it all. I can look back over time and I can no longer recognize that girl I once was, but now I see a woman after God's own heart. I see a woman changing daily. Sometimes moment by moment.
As I watch each child become their own, it is simply amazing to know I had a small part in who they are now. I am blessed to have watched them grow and to take part in their precious lives. It just leaves you speechless to see how very fast they grow. They once were just learning those first steps and now they are taking those giant leaps of faith.
I once held their hand so tight, keeping them safe from all around. Now I realize from that very first touch, it was a process of letting go one day to watch them soar, living those dreams they once only thought of. Watching your children grow is watching God in wonder and excitement. Through God all possibilities are at their feet, and in their reach.
I was picking my daughter's gifts out the other day and stood and cried. I don't mean just shed a tear, I mean down right balled right there in the aisle before me. I love picking out gifts and I try to always pick something that has meaning and will last for years to come. As I held a picture frame in my hand, I couldn't help but see pictures of the past. Those teasing smiles of hers, and those bright blue eyes dancing in joy. I saw her in her little blue dress walking in the grass tickling her toes and knew within just a few short weeks she will walk the aisle in a beautiful white gown.
I too picked out my oldest daughter's baby shower gift and had myself a good little cry. Seeing her just yesterday in my arms, smiling a toothless grin and hanging on tight to my finger and now? Well, she has this little bump and glows of beauty. She soon will hold the tiny hand of her baby and whisper "I love you's" as she kisses her sweet face.
My son will sign those papers soon that will enlist him in the Air Force. Ask him why, and he will say, "I want to serve my country, mom." I knew in those first moments when he picked out his first G.I Joe that this is what he would do. It seems like yesterday he was learning to write his own name and now he will sign a line showing this country that he is willing to give all.
As I watch my step-children grow they never cease to amaze me at how they just never give up. They don't just dream, they reach for the stars and go for it. My step-son will soon be standing before young people teaching them history. My step-daughter has yet signed on to serve her country for four more years. She loves what she does. And isn't that what it is all about? Not just living, but having fun doing so?
I look back and have such memories to last a life time, but they are only just really beginning. Each day holds a new promise and a new dream. Each day brings more sunshine to light the way and just enough rain for us to see the rainbow on those dark days. Through all our family has been through I can only say I have loved being a mom. I have loved teaching my children and it has been a pure gift to watch them sprout wings and take flight. I pray one day they look back and see the love that was given and the prayers that were said. I pray they see a yesterday with love and a tomorrow filled with hope.
If you have young ones at home today take time. Slow down and just simply enjoy each moment. Each moment has meaning. Each moment holds promise and each moment is there to build memories and a legacy. Take the hand of your child and kiss their cheek. Give them a smile today and wrap your arms around them. I promise as they grow you too will grow. I am still growing just as my children. We are a work in progress. Live today with a joy that will last for tomorrow and all the days to come.