I was just staring at them, sitting together in the rocking chair in the back living room. They were both totally naked, having taken a bath just before and it’s 81 degrees in the house because our air conditioning is out, so I didn’t make them get dressed. They were each eating a peanut granola bar and starting to watch the wretched Paw Patrol that I allow for exactly one total hour each week.

It hit me then: this is their only childhood. This is it. Just like how I look back so fondly on playing shipwrecked in the cul-de-sac on Cottonwood Place, they’ll look fondly back to this house, this neighborhood. This is it. It’s fleeting so quickly.

Will they like it? Will they remember me being silly and funny or stressed and emotionally absent? Will they remember themselves being naked, like, all the time while I fretted over how normal people are probably dressed right now? Will they remember the total chaos that I feel like their life is? Or will it all be blurry, like my childhood is for me – fuzzy flashes of warm safety and laughter and utter joy?

It changed something in me, just now. I hopped up and started dancing to the music like a crazy person. I picked up Ellie and started swinging her around. We laughed so hard together. That sweet giggle is such a musical sound to me.

This is it for my sweet babies. I’m so happy that they are growing up – it’s supposed to happen. And it’s supposed to feel this quick. What a blessing to be a flash of eternity and to get to remember it well. To see it go so quickly is proof that we’re eternal. But it is so quick, and it is so easy to get lost in what doesn’t matter. But this is it for them – their only childhood. I want them to remember it being beautiful.

So I’m going to keep jumping up for random dance parties. I’m going to let them make a giant mess of banana bread. I’m going to splash in their bath water. I’m going to put down my phone and look in their precious deep brown eyes (and maybe blue – we aren’t sure about Grace’s eye color yet). I’m going to turn off the tv and go outside, splashing in puddles and playing in dirt and getting bug bites. We’ll swim and run and walk and bike and play tennis is this blessed, beautiful place. We’ll celebrate this short life in and out of these walls. We’ll gather with believers and unbelievers in this home, showing the love of Jesus in our short time.

This is it. YOLO, if you will. Our only chance, their only childhood. Help us see it, Jesus.

“This day is fleeting. Soon it will end, and once it has vanished, it will not come again. So let us love with a love pure and strong before this day is gone.”

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