When do they grow up?

I’m really not sure.

It must be sometime in between the diaper changes and homework and school plays and late-night football games and early morning college prep tests.

I can’t really put my finger on the exact moment they grow up. Because I never really see them growing.

Until I slow down and look at them.

Those times I slow down, I feel as though I can hit pause and go back and look through a window with a 1-year-old on the other side. And replay that moment when those chubby, wobbly legs, shuffle as they take their first steps. And that look of unsure pride that flickered across that sweet face.

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But then that window fades, and a new one appears, this time a 5-year-old window. And I look through it and watch myself walk him into that first day of kindergarten. I feel his fingers cling to mine as I usher him through the doorway. Promising that everything will be OK and that I will “be right back.”

And then another window. This one is of a growing, yet awkward eleven year old. Ready to face the world, but still so uncertain of who he is and where he fits in this big, big world.

And these windows, these glimpses of time, just really break me.

Because, I will never, ever get to live in those windows again.

That window in time has passed.

I have to live in this window of today.

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Some of these windows, some of these moments are hard. Really stinking hard.

Some of these moments are sweet. Melt my heart sweet.

I will royally mess up in some of these moments. My kids will royally mess up in some of these moments.

But ALL of these moments will be gone tomorrow.

I am learning that I don’t have to enjoy every moment, because I won’t.

But I need to be present in every one. Because time is valuable, and I can’t turn it back to live it again.

And one day, when I reflect back on this window of today, I want to know that I did my very best, at this time, with the most precious people that I could ever ask God to give me.

This post originally appeared on My House Full of Boys

There’s just something between a mother and her son. This book is a must-read for all of the boy moms out there! Don’t have time to sit and read? You can listen here, on Audible.

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Ashley Bufe

Ashley Bufe is a Jesus lovin' wife and momma of 4 energetic boys. She blogs at www.myhousefullofboys.com in hopes that she can uplift and inspire other mommas to let them know that they are special and chosen by God to be momma. And that they are doing a great job! Be sure to find her on Facebook and Instagram.