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I ran into a sweet older gentleman at the beach yesterday. He was siting at the beginning of the seawall as my family and I finished our walk, my one request on mother’s day, a walk with my family. Child one rode his bike, child two rode his scooter, and child number three, fast as lightening ran while hubby and I strolled about 1/4 mile behind. As we all met up, I told the boys since the tide was out they could go climb on the rocks. They dashed off before I could say another word and I followed behind them. This sweet man stopped me, smile on his face, nostalgia shining in his eyes as he reminisced of the years gone by. “Seems like just yesterday I had my boys down here. They loved it here. It all went so fast. My oldest son asked me the other day, where did the time go?” I smiled. This was different somehow than the times my kids were babies and people would tell me time would go fast. I didn’t know what was in store then. Now I have had a taste of it, and childhood is zooming by in my little boys. “How many boys do you have?” I inquired. He smiled, “I have 3 boys and 1 girl.” “Wow,” I said. “Where was your daughter in the birth order?” “She was number 4, 7 years after our youngest son was born. She was the surprise of the century.” He chuckled. I smiled. “My youngest is going to be 7, I’ll have to let my husband know there is still hope for a girl.” I shared with him how my hubby and I just celebrated our 12 year anniversary. Time is a strange thing. 12 years ago, hubby and I were practically babies ourselves, just dreaming of the future. There were no boys underfoot 24/7. Just 12 years ago and it feels like yesterday. I looked at my husband this weekend while we were away celebrating our anniversary and announced that in another 12 years our oldest will be 22, followed by 20, and then 18. Time… I told the man, “God bless you,” and left to catch up to my climbing boys. The man then stopped my husband and had the same conversation. My hubby shared the same story. Time…

Seriously, where has the time gone? We went from being young and in love to newlyweds to family planning to having these big kids who are almost as tall as I am. And as I sit here looking up at the baby pictures on our fireplace, I miss those babies so much. When did I overlook the belly laughs, sleepy smiles, and snuggles and only remember cluster feedings, sleepless nights, exploding diapers, and projectile vomit. Not today, not anymore. So often my day ends and I pray to the Lord to give me another chance tomorrow to be the mom He desires for me to be, but I already am. I am too hard on myself. What escapes me is the joy and I’m not losing another second of that. I often get lost in the to do’s and trying to get stuff done that I don’t take that moment to look them in the eye and have that conversation. Instead of hearing the noise in a house that will one day be quiet as overwhelming, I want to hear it as a blessing.

In a world that is busy and chaotic, I crave to do things differently.

1 week ago I lost a beautiful friend. She was sick for a very long time, waiting for a kidney that never came. She was actually sick for the entirety of our friendship. She loved my kids so much and spoiled them rotten. My kids loved her back. I’m so thankful that we took the time to sit with her over the years, that my boys got to know her and that she knew them, loved them, and prayed for them. Time… One day she was here, the next she was gone. It all ties together, so why do we take today for granted and let time slip away? I can’t go back and hold my babies, but I can hug and comfort these big boys. I can’t take back the temper that I lost when I went ballistic that 2 of my kids were having a knock down drag out brawl in a friends driveway, but I can apologize for my reaction and pray that in a future situation that I would not behave like a child. I can’t take back all those nights that I cried myself to sleep over another night of overtime, but I can hold tight to every moment my firefighter hubby and I have together.

The best part about celebrating our 12 year anniversary was the get a way we got to take this past weekend. Nothing fancy or extravagant, but that’s not us. We ran away from home for 2 nights to the Berkshires. We got to pay one another 100% of our attention. What a gift that was in this moment as the next month is full of event after event. I loved that we didn’t have to rush to go to bed, or rush to wake up in the morning. We didn’t have to rush through a hike to be somewhere, we didn’t have to rush in and out of shops or through meals. We got to reflect on where we once were to where we are now and where we want to be over the course of the next year. Time…

Back to the seawall. Our walk was not void of excitement. Our 6 year old ran full speed in a giant puddle on the beach that I could clearly see was a puddle, but apparently from his angle he had no idea he would be shin deep in water. Only half way through our walk, I stripped off his socks and shoes and took them into the bathhouse where I put them under the hand dryer for about 10 minutes. Still damp, I brought them out and assured him that I wouldn’t mind if he wanted to go home. He did, so we turned around and walked back to the car. I’m glad we did. Because then I got to hear that sweet man’s story. And then I got to truly appreciate my mother’s day for what it means to me-not what it means to the world. I didn’t want to be pampered, I just wanted to enjoy being with my people. I started a new habit lately. At bedtime I’ve been telling my boys, “Thanks for being my son”(as if they had a choice). But I just adore when it is followed by, “Thanks for being my mom.”

Time…