Reflections: A Photo Essay

“Our power lies in our small daily choices, one after another, to create eternal ripples of a life well lived.” -Mollie Marti 

I am in a reflective mood today as yet another school year draws to a close. As a mother, I feel the ebb and flow of the time through the lives of my growing children. Each milestone my children reach, strike my innermost emotional being. Today, after six years my son took his last step inside the classroom at his elementary school. I have fought back emotions all day ranging from uttermost pride and joy to a little bit of sadness as it felt like these past six years have gone by with the blink of an eye. Not only has my son and daughter changed, so have I.

Lake Harriet, Minneapolis Minnesota

Once I became a mother, my life as I had known it for almost 33 years was forever changed. I admit that I wasn’t always sure I wanted to be a parent. I was perfectly happy enjoying life with my husband and traveling as much as we could afford. I wanted to make something out of myself and build a career. I felt the pressure of achieving the American Dream.

Yet, something traumatic happened while I was thousands and thousands of miles away on a trip. I lost someone close. A child within our extended family. And I realized that life was short. I also realized that there was something priceless that nothing could ever buy or give me. A family. I am so incredibly close to my family and the thought of not having that relationship with children of my own troubled me. So the decision was made. Within a month I was pregnant with my first child and two years and four days after his brith, I delivered my daughter. Nothing will ever give me such immense joy, fulfillment and love. Nothing. I am so incredibly grateful to have them as my children and to have taken on the difficult role of raising caring, loving, children who aspire to make the world a better place.

Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sometimes I admit that I worry that I’m not doing enough with my work and I feel terrible that there is so much more I can do to help out. But then I realize that my children are truly only here with me for a short while and I must spend as much time cultivating and loving them as possible. Before I know it, they will be off to their own lives and it will be my husband and I alone once again. So the time is now to embrace being with them.


As another year ends, I look forward to the future. To the day when I can show them the world and bring them along. We have done a lot of traveling around the US but haven’t been much else yet with them. I can hardly wait to open their eyes to something larger, something grander, and something magnificent.


It is my deepest hope that they continue in my footsteps, to want to see and explore the world and make a difference. As the world grows more and more complicated, with technology taking over their young lives in ways that are unimaginable when I was a child, I have a deeper responsibility and commitment to ensuring they can step away. Ensuring they can get out and smell the fresh pure air, and see the world in all its beauty.

IMG_3959Yet for the next few months of our short summer, it is a time to play and enjoy the raw feeling of freedom. For that is what summer is all about. Finding your inner child and having fun. Before I know it, fall will be here and the routine of life will start once again. There is no better time than the present to embrace and enjoy the moment.


  1. Sorry for your loss Nicole.
    Our children are on loan to us, and our time with them is indeed precious. Yours are fortunate to have a wonderful guide and mentor in you. Have no doubt they will blossom into responsible, compassionate explorers. In the meanwhile, here’s to your finding your inner child with their help 🙂

    • Yes it was horrible. It is still something today almost 14 years later I think of him and feel so horrible he didn’t get a chance at life. I love what you say about children being on loan to us. It is so true. Sometimes life gets so busy that you forget for a moment how special this is. Thanks Madhu!

  2. You have expressed the feelings of many a mother. My children are all grown with chidden of their own. When I look back it amazes me how quickly the time with them went. Life is so precious and one of God’s greatest gifts is motherhood. Enjoy every precious moment this summer having fun!!

    • Thank you! I tend to be a bit nostalgic but I think many mothers feel this way. Our children are a part of us and we will do anything to help and protect them. What a gift! The greatest gift of all. 😊

  3. It always makes me sad to see people out with their children in strollers…and the parent is on the phone! Open your eyes, talk with your child, enjoy their lives because, as you say, it all passes quickly. We’ve enjoyed our girls at all ages and now, when they’re on their own, we enjoy that, too. As for travel, they’ve traveled a lot in the US and some in Europe. Even if they would have only traveled in the US, it would be a wonderful blessing.

    Enjoyed the reflections of all kinds here.


    • Yes children are so special. I still am in shock though how much faster life seems to go now with kids. Maybe it is because they change and grow so fast. Each stage has been special and I am really enjoying now as I feel I can really have impactful conversations with my 11-year old son about so many issues. Yes they are truly fortunate to have traveled a bit in the US and see grandma and grandpa one each coast once a year. I know a lot of children don’t ever take a family trip. It is very special.

    • Thanks Sally! The reflections of the clouds were a nice metaphor with how I’m feeling. Life gets so busy that I sometimes forget to stop and think and reflect on everything wonderful like my two kids and husband and extended family.

  4. What a beautiful and heartfelt post. So sorry to hear about the loss in your extended family. From it sprang you chapter of motherhood. Could there be a better tribute?

    • That is true Sue. I think often of my nephew and wonder what he’d be like if he was here today, just a few years older than my son. Life is precious isn’t it.

  5. Lovely reflective post, Nicole. So sorry about your nephew. It must have been heartbreaking. You have really beautiful children, and I always enjoy seeing them in your posts. Parenting is so challenging but so worth it.

  6. What a heartfelt post Nicole, so moving and expressing what so many of us feel and want for our children. Your photos are, as always. stunning but your words really cut to the core and I can relate on a deep level. Enjoy your beautiful kids while they’re young Nicole and cherish every minute with them. Life goes way too fast. Hugs. xo

    • Oh thank you so much Miriam! The last few weeks have been so stressful as we have had so much going on with the end of school, changes in schedule and the puppy (who proves to be a lot of work). I’ve felt overwhelmed with trying to write and read blogs and do all I do. I got to the point where my lovely husband told me to take a deep breath and relax. Enjoy myself! He is so right. Time and life goes too fast and when I look back I’d rather have spent more time with my kids than anything else. The blog can wait. 😊

      • Absolutely Nicole, I couldn’t agree more. The blog and all the reading can wait. Nothing is more important than spending time with our kids. And there’s nothing like a loving and wise husband to keep us in check! Look after yourself Nicole and the rest will fall into place (says she who is also a bit overwhelmed, but I’m also trying to take my own advice!) 🙂

      • Thanks Miriam! We have a saying here which is “we are
        Two peas in a pod”. I think we are very likeminded! Thanks for the advice my friend!

  7. Mike Hohmann

    Yes Nicole, kids are everything and time is short. I know only to well. See you around Harriet some morning, maybe. It is the season to get out early for a walk; alas only 24/7!

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