“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.
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
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.