You see me get my three kids settled at the table for our rare lunch out together or you’ll see me in the checkout line at the grocery store with my three children sometimes in states of obedience or in states of defiance. But more times than not no matter where I see you or even how well or not well behaved my children are the thing I always see is the faraway look in your eyes. I see the way you look at my children as a life that passed you by way too quickly. You’ll stop me with that wistful look in your eye and no matter if it’s a moment the children are being little angels or little monsters you’ll tell me how this time will go by way too fast and to enjoy it because they’ll be grown and gone before I know it.  Even though I’ve heard it more times than I count I want you to know I still appreciate the wisdom because before I know it I will be you.

Here’s what I want you to know. When I’m at my wits end with the crying and the fighting I hear your reminder that before too long all the noise will cease and silence will be in its place. So I will take a deep breath, pick up the baby and hold him until the tears are no more. I will break up the fight between two little girls and remind them they are each other’s first and longest friend.

Here’s what I want you to know. When I’m fighting with my child at the dinner table to eat one more bite I hear your reminder that before too long we’ll be sitting at that table all alone with no more childish chatter and giggles so I’ll keep the peace at the table so we can enjoy these nightly family dinners that will pass far too quickly.

Here’s what I want you to know. When I’m up again each night because the baby is crying, a little girl is climbing in our bed, or I get a kick to the head from a little girl in our bed I remember your reminder that too soon we’ll be sleeping in this bed alone and the house will echo in that silence we once longed for. There won’t be any cries for momma or daddy to hold them until they fall asleep.

Here’s what I want you to know. When I start feeling overwhelmed from running to practices, games, Girls Scouts meetings, and school event nights I’ll hear your reminder that one day I won’t have much to do with my day. I’ll trade in all those moments of wishing I had more time for myself to wishing I wasn’t by myself so much of the time.

Here’s what I want you to know. I know this time is going to go by in a blink. I already mourn the time lost and gasp at the dwindling time that is left with each passing day, each passing month, each passing year. So I do my best to stop and just chat with them a little longer about the adventures taking place in their imaginative creative worlds they create. I do my best to get outside and play like a child with them. I do my best not to rush off to tackle the next thing on my to do list and sit and cuddle them a little longer. I do my best to capture as many of the moments that melt my heart on film for them and me to remember these beautiful and funny moments of their childhood. All too soon I know the house will be quiet, our schedule won’t be so full with three kids’ activities and interests, I do my best to be present right here, right now with them because I know one day too soon my children will be grown up too and I will be you wistfully looking at the young mother in the store or the restaurant with her hands full but in the moment of her life that I’ll wish I can just go back to for another day.