February 23, 2021

When I get on Facebook, the very first thing that pops up is always a photo from the past, smiling faces of my children, years younger. Every August, it may be a photo of Noel’s first day of kindergarten or Madeline’s teeny tiny self at a soccer game, eyes gleaming, front teeth missing. On other days it may be the beautiful blue of the ocean and our family standing on a sandy beach on a fabulous vacation. Every single time I scroll through these photos I am overcome with a salty mixture of gratitude and sadness for the passing of time. How can my cuddly baby be 11 years old? Where is the giggling, curly-haired toddler who is now preparing for her driver’s permit? And then the guilt comes. The wave of regret for every moment I spent watching Netflix when I could have been out in the yard playing in the grass with our two girls. I wake up in the middle of the night on occasion and think, “We have two years with Noel in the house. Two years! I better start making those memories – STAT!”

Our family of four is entering into a season of change. These little souls are transforming right before our eyes, learning to make decisions, spreading their wings and growing up. Change is so very hard, and we can’t help but put all the blame upon ourselves for the things we didn’t do, left off the calendar, and never prioritized. These feelings are part of being human, but I am taking time every day to check in with myself, my husband, and my children, to give grace because we are doing the very best we can with what we have. Yes, time will continue to speed by, photos will become memories, trips will end, and we will enter new chapters of our story, but for today, I intend to live in the moment with my family because this moment is absolutely perfect.

Candice Hillenbrand, Director of Mission Engagement