To my three babies

Here we are, in the second full week of our summer vacation. The first few days were a little rough on me, I'll admit. I have been so used to spending several hours a day all by myself - doing what I wanted, when I wanted. And then suddenly, here are you three little people.

Here. In my clean house.

And you are always hungry. ALWAYS leaving things out. And not the least bit concerned with the trail of crumbs behind you.

But in spite of this, I think we've found our rhythm, you and I. I'm looking at your cheerful faces across the table, listening to your chatter, and I find that my heart is full.

With each various stage of life that we've gone through together, it seemed to me that I would always remember. I'll be honest - sometimes, it felt like your less-desirable phases would never end. I can definitely think of at least one that is irrevocably seared into the recesses of my mind.

But there are so many more that I know I have forgotten.

Long ago, as I held your baby selves, smelling your sweet little necks, I promised myself I would never forget. That these moments, like the thousands of photos I've taken of you, would always be permanently etched in my mind. But now that a little time has passed, I find that I just can't quite recall your baby smells. I have all but forgotten the sounds of your newborn cries. And it hurts my heart to think that I won't ever again hear your bubbly toddler voices.

Only when I creep to your bedside at night do I see traces of the babies you once were. Even you, McKay, still sometimes purse your little lips together, making that all-too familiar puckered face. It's when you're in that angelic, dreamy state that it all comes back to me. And it brings a smile to my face every time.

Right now though, I want to freeze this. I don't want these days, and these people you are today, to be only a memory.

I want to remember how Hannah's voice sounds when she's just woken up and has a head full of morning hair. I want to remember the way Chase lights up when he talks about conservation or a new story he's written. I want to always see McKay's crooked smile, and feel the swell of pride when walking by him curled up, reading a book. Because I just love that he's a reader. Like me.

I am in love with the phase that you're all in. You've suddenly, and without warning, become very interesting people to be around. You're growing more independent every day. Your opinions are all your own, and not reflections of what you hear your dad and I say. You see that your life will not always be dictated by me, and you really like the idea of that.

You are doing what children should. You are doing what I want you to do. You are growing up.

I am just so afraid that I will forget.

And I probably will.

But if I've learned nothing else as a mother, it's this: I will always mourn each phase as it passes me by, leaving me standing on the sidelines. And although it leaves my arms a little more empty each time, it leaves my heart a whole lot more full.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.