Passion flower!

I took the photo of this passion flower at our local farm share last summer. Passion flowers only bloom for 24 hours, so my daughters and I would stop by the farm every time we drove past to see if we could catch it in bloom.

It was a small and sweet adventure for all of us – the kind of adventure that almost makes me wish my two girls could be children forever. As my older daughter careens toward her teenage years, I know I may soon miss the days when she thought it was exciting to check for a flower blooming on a farm.

But I also know that part of what makes this time so sweet is how quickly it is changing. One time when my daughters were toddlers, I was racing into Target with them in the cart – we were in a rush, and my older daughter was whining. I don’t remember the details, but I remember my feelings of irritation and overwhelm – and I remember suddenly thinking, “she’s three. You have a three year old, and you are missing that right now.”

I wish I could say that thought changed my life – that I never felt irritation or overwhelm when my kids whined again. If only! But remembering it, even now – my daughters are nine and twelve, and when I let irritation or overwhelm get the best of me, I’m missing these days – can stop me in my tracks in a way that it wouldn’t if I got to have a nine and twelve year old forever.

My two girls were born when I was in my late thirties – I’d wanted to be a mother forever, and I didn’t take their births for granted – not even when that first child took three days of painful labor to be born! I don’t want to take their childhoods for granted, either – not on the days when they snuggle up to me sweetly with a book, and not on the days when they are whining in a Target parking lot. I’m grateful for the fleetingness of these days, which reminds me of the gift of getting to see them and love them exactly as they are right now.