When we think about starting a family, we don’t think about how it all unfolds. We may consider what it will feel like to care for a precious new baby. We may even wonder what it will be like when our babies start growing into toddlers and then into little ones.

But in those moments when our thoughts ponder these babies continuing to growinto tweens and teens and beyondwell it’s nearly impossible to wrap our heads around that. It just seems so very, very far away.

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We simply don’t really register this as it’s happening. We go along, living life with our babies and toddlers and little ones and tweens and teens. And beyond.

It catches us off guard in ordinary moments and in the milestone moments.

Like when our baby or toddler no longer nurses to sleep. When we’re enjoying a picnic in our sunny backyard and we stare at our sweet little ones and get a glimpse of who they really are. When one minute we’re watering our garden, and the next we’re remembering carefree little ones running through sprinklers and playing on the water slide. When our oldest starts middle school and when we drop our baby off at college.

Suddenly we notice. We’re in a place in our motherhood journey we couldn’t have imagined, not fully. And a treasured season or seasons are now behind us. Even for those of us who made lots of effort to be in the moment and not wish time away (even the hard times that drain us or make us cry), we still find ourselves asking, “How did we get here?”

Moving through the years we’re focused on the living and the loving. The blessings of it all seem to stretch out forever in front of us. But when we look back, somehow it seems to have happened with a few blinks of our eyes. That’s the trickery of time.

What has been a saving grace for me has been the realization that every season with our children is magical. Each brought its own gifts and had me in awe of how I could continue to love my children more.

With two college kids (one about to graduate), the little ones in this picture are from many cherished seasons ago. Yet the college kids from this season encompass all of the goodness of these little ones and SO MUCH MORE.

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They are young adults with compassionate, deeply loving hearts. They are guided by faith, integrity, and inner wisdom. One is on a path to shine her light by teaching others, the other to shine his by both mentally and physically healing others. They are my greatest blessingsalways my children and now also my friends.

We are our babies’ world from the moment they’re born, and all too soon their world gets a lot bigger. We may no longer be their whole world, but we will always be home to them, long after they’ve moved into a home of their own. This is something I can wrap my head around, and my heart and soul too.

Sydnei Kaplan

Sydnei Kaplan is Mom to two of her greatest blessings—both in college—and wife to David. She left a marketing career when she became a mom and never looked back. Along the way she discovered her soul’s true calling and found joy not just in raising her own children, but in supporting friends along their journeys. Currently, she is a part-time preschool assistant and has rediscovered her passion for writing at Mom in the Moment, her blog. Find her work on Collegiate Parent, Living the Second Act, and Grown and Flown.