Girl silhouette

Today is my youngest’s–my son’s–18th birthday. Between looking at old pictures, writing a sentiment in his card, and generally thinking about the last 24 1/2 years of having and raising three children, I have worked myself into a state of high emotion–a mix of joy, happiness, pride, and a hint of wistfulness for days gone by.

The days go by so fast. Everybody says that because it’s true. Each day in and of itself may not always go fast, but in the aggregate, the last 9000 days or so have simply vanished into what is now the past. I’m not sure how we got from there to here without noticing that time wasn’t stopping and what was would not be forever.

For me, and for my husband too, everything we do is diminished when viewed within the shadow of parenthood.  The money we make, the things we buy, the places we’ve been, the people we’ve known, the lives we’ve lived are small in comparison to the privilege of being parents. There is nothing else that I have ever done or will ever do that will be more fulfilling than being a mom. I feel so lucky and so grateful that my world includes three wonderful people who are no longer children but will always be my kids.

Despite the worry and fear that goes along with parenting, the love always wins. It’s a pure love that never changes except to grow. It’s risky to love so much. But very few things that really matter are without risk. Joy trumps risk when it comes to a parent’s love for a child.

I can’t wait to see what comes next. I may have given birth to my children, but they have given me life.