Yesterday we were at our local summer concert, enjoying music and the evening sun. Then, a familiar sight that makes my heart thump and my smile grow wide: my eldest two children happily running toward me from across the concert lawn. Heavy breaths through broad smiles, arms outstretched to envelop me in their sweaty hugs, their sneakers pounding through the sun-warmed turf. I saw it.
I saw how different my middle son was from last year. The change from 2-year-old to 3-year-old was striking. He’d lengthened, his face was leaner, his body was taller. I looked to my daughter, bounding toward me, her face more beautiful now than cute, just days away from her 5th birthday. I felt the weight of my 1-year-old in the carrier, no longer the newborn peanut he was last summer. How much they’d changed in just a year! My eyes grew misty and my throat caught.
We have only one summer each year with our children, the next they will be older, bigger, more independent, less mommy-centric. Interests will be different, maturity and skills will have advanced, they’ll push further from us and deeper into the outside world.
As exhausting and tumultuous as the days can be, as wearing and patience-testing as this young stage is, it only happens once. We only get THIS summer once.
Soak it in. Commit it to memory. Smile. Laugh. Enjoy it. Next summer will be entirely different.