I showed my granddaughter a picture of her mommy the other day. In the picture, my daughter was the same age my granddaughter is now. I was surprised to hear her little voice ask me if her mommy was still my child. After I thought about it, I understood her point.
In all the decades that have passed since that picture was taken, my daughter grew up.
She somehow shifted from the little girl she once was into a woman I am now proud to call my friend.
My brain understands that. I can even understand what my granddaughter was feeling when she saw a picture of a little girl and then tried to reconcile the image with the mommy standing in front of her.
But I understand something else too.
No matter how grown up my daughter is, no matter what she looks like on the outside, she will always be my little girl.
I’ve watched my mother-in-law’s face as she looks at her children who are now grandparents. Even at 85, her face lights up when she sees each of them. She sees the little babies she once had every time she visits with one of her grown children.
How could she not?
Our children never stop being our children.
Sometimes it’s as simple as time passing, but circumstances in motherhood certainly change.
But change isn’t always bad.
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We can appreciate our past without living in regret. We don’t have to stay in that place of wishing we were still hearing the pitter patter of little feet, longing to once more see tiny hands reaching out to us under bathroom doors, and wanting all the memories back, ones that are so very precious to us now that they are gone.
We don’t have to settle for walking into a room and closing our eyes as our memories take us back to a floor full of Legos, the noise of PlayStation games, and the nightly dinner conversations where we talked about everything that happened that day.
We can walk through our empty house and smile, knowing the growth of our family was always part of God’s plan.
You see, we weren’t meant to stay young parents of young children. It was always part of the plan for our babies to grow up and, to some extent, to go away.
For those of you in the trenches of parenthood, it’s probably hard to imagine a day when your house will be silent. You’re simply in a season though, and we all know how quickly seasons change.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is beauty to be found now. Just like in God’s creation where there is something to look forward to in each of the four seasons we’re given, the same is true in our seasons of life.
I was walking through a store earlier today when I heard a familiar voice. I looked up and saw my daughter. Time slipped for just a moment, revealing a little girl where a grown woman stood. I blinked her away and took in the beautiful person in front of me as an awareness of the blessing of this season washed over me.
I haven’t lost anything by having my children grow up.
In fact, I’ve gained more than I ever would have guessed way back when my children were still at home.
It can be tempting to wish for what we once had, but life doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to stay in the photographs of our past. They can be a lovely reminder of what we had as we’re enjoying what we have been given in the now.
My granddaughter just couldn’t quite separate the picture of a little girl from the woman her mommy is to her.
And even though the past and the present seasons often get blurred in my own mind, I’ve learned to enjoy the blessings of the present without giving up the memories of the past.
After all, there is a time for everything.