The Transient Passage of Time: Through the Eyes of My Children

“In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds”. –  Robert Green Ingersoll

This past Father’s Day, we decided to hop in the car and drive to Afton State Park near the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin for a family picnic and hike. We had been there a few years ago but haven’t been back in a while due to our dog who tends to get carsick and hates the car. It was a beautiful day to be outside exploring nature and enjoying precious family time. As the kids get older, I realize how special and priceless these moments are. The passage of time seems to flow like the movement of the clouds. In the blink of an eye, another year has gone by. I realize that soon my children will be moving on.

A family shot

This year has been a huge year of transition. My youngest, Sophia, is ten and my son Max is 12. They are at the end of childhood and approaching adolescence and all the transitions and rollercoaster of emotions that go with it. The drama, the questioning, the hurt feelings, the mean girls and the pushing away and pulling back. This dramatic transition has caught me by surprise and reawakened memories of my own adolescent years. For me these were some of the most painful memories of my life. I was bullied, insecure and struggled with having a feeling of self-worth. I was awkward, moody, and a late bloomer. I honestly believe that being 13 was the hardest year of my life and it came as a shock to me that over 30 years later the traumatic memories of that time period have resurfaced. It is amazing how the brain works but I’m glad that I have moved on and found a way to help my children navigate these turbulent years. To help them be strong, confident and caring people. In my opinion, besides love, that is the biggest gift a parent can give their children.

When we reached the riverside beach, our dog Winter was in heaven. Being half Golden Retriever and half Labrador Retriever, he loves the water and could spend the entire day inside it searching for fish and swimming around chasing sticks and pebbles. While he was enjoying the water, my kids began building a giant sand castle. They hadn’t built a sand castle together for years and I had naively thought they had outgrown playing in the sand. Instead of hiking, we ended up spending the next two hours at the beach. My children didn’t want to leave nor did our dog. The joy and magic of childhood had suddenly come back and it felt amazingly good. I watched them lovingly and tried to capture this very moment inside my heart.

“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful”. –  Kailash Satyarthi

“One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood”.-  Agatha Christie

Childhood is such a special, joyous time. I often look back upon my own childhood in such nostalgic ways. I grew up as the middle child of three and we were all three years apart. Most of my time was spent playing with my younger sister or else fighting with my older brother. I am sure we drove my parents crazy but we had fun. We remain a very close knit family today despite the vast geographical distance.

Days later I thought about the last time my kids played along the beach and the lovely collection of photos I took. These photos were taken in June of 2012 in Northern Minnesota. It is astonishing how much my children have grown and changed in five short years. My son is already 5 foot 10 and soars above me and my daughter is growing up quickly too. Soon she will say goodbye to her girlhood and be in the next phase of life whereas my son has already entered his preteen years.

Oftentimes life gets so busy these days that I forget to take a moment to reflect upon life. It is so important to live in the moment and appreciate the present. With the start of summer and no school, I look forward to embracing this time with my children. To playing more, enjoying each other’s company and laughing. It is a special time and for that I am truly grateful.

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient.


  1. My mother used to say the children were on the loan. Until I have my own I didn’t understand what that meant but I learned how important it was to enjoy every moment with them

  2. It’s been a joy to watch your two growing up, Nicole. Childhood isn’t always easy in this acquisitive world of ours, even with great parents like yourselves. Teen years can be awful so it’s good that you can empathise. 🙂 🙂

  3. Oh yes the adolescent years can be challenging. I do believe they were the most challenging of the parenting years for me. I spent a great deal of time listening, nodding and deep breathing. Sending energy your way Nicole.

    • Love the deep breathing part Sue! Thanks for the advice! I love the quote that parenting is the toughest job you will ever love! So true

  4. I think I am lucky that I remember my teenage years fondly. I was always independent and self sufficient, like my father. I wasn’t bothered at all by peer group pressure. My son seemed to be OK too. I do feel for kids now with all the ridiculous social media rubbish. I’m glad I was young before all this happened.

    • You are indeed Debra! Once I got to high school and 15 it was much better and more fun! I agree that things are so different now with technology.

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  7. Nicole, its so much heart warming to see your kids grow…..and bringing in past memories from their childhood…which is very parent…hope you enjoyed your holiday. Love Vannie

    • Thanks so much! YEs I will check it out. A great way to get more engaged is to join the WordPress Weekly and Daily Post Challenges. It is a great way to meet new and old bloggers.

  8. I hear you, Nicole! I don’t have children, but I still feel how surprisingly quickly time passes. It sounds like this is a time where you can really enjoy your children in a different way, perhaps, than five years ago. So glad you had such a wonderful Father’s Day. Hoping the summer with them is equally wonderful!

  9. Di

    Hello Nicole,
    Such a beautiful post and I can totally understand those feelings about the years passing quickly. They really do, but if you are aware of it as you are, it will help you to stop and take it all in more fully.
    Wishing you and your children all the best as you navigate the teenage years…
    Thank you for this lovely post,
    Di 💐✨✨

      • Di

        You’re very welcome Nicole.
        I’ve certainly been just where you are right now…
        On our road trips, we used to play ‘this is the time’ by Billy Joel and it would remind me…I always had tears streaming down my face. But now my hubby and I play it in the car and I still tear up… there is goodness in all stages of life, honestly. 💕🌟

      • Di

        You’re welcome Nicole. I just thought I’d let you know it’s not as scary as it seems from your vantage point right now… one I was very much in too not that long ago…
        Wishing you well, my friend 💐🌈

      • Do you children live nearby? That is the hard part for us. Our entire family is spread out across the US. I miss them dearly but thankfully get to see everyone a few times a year. Wish they were closer though.

      • Di

        Yes, they are all nearby here, Nicole. It’s us who are running away from them… we just heard Tony has been successful in a transfer to London… we can hardly believe it…🌹

      • Di

        I know! It’s so huge Nicole because we haven’t lived out of Melbourne or been away from home for more than 4 weeks…
        So I’m calling this ‘my big London adventure…’

      • Di

        Hello dear Nicole,
        We really can’t say we are sad as Tony applied for the transfer. There are still emotions but we are very excited to live life as a Londoner. We have both been called to the U.K. for our whole lives so there’s only one way to find out.
        Yes, I will know some insta friends (maggietattersfield to name just one) and our sons lived there so their friends we will catch up from time to time…
        Thank you for your lovely interest…🙏🏼💐

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  14. I have 3 kiddos, 7,2 and 1, I often find myself wishing for them all to finally be talking, potty trained and in school. I have to remind myself to enjoy these years too, they are pretty amazing!

    • Yes those years when they are really young are hard but believe me, you will miss those years once they are older! But every age is special! 🙂

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