And just like that...
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Wednesday, June 13, 2018
By Bella Mi Photography
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"Enjoy every moment."   "Time will fly!"   "And just like that, they will be all grown." 

I heard these phrases from numerous loved ones, friends and even strangers over the years.  From the very moment we welcomed our first child, Kyle, into the world, we heard these wise words from just about everyone!  March 6, 2000 at 6:32pm, my husband and I became parents for the very first time.  

As most new parents, my husband and I tried to figure out the newborn stage {a bit scary and slightly exhausting} and then the baby stage {so fun, yet exhausting} and then the toddler stage {well, that was just exhausting, lol}.  We had no idea what we were doing, but one thing we did know was that we loved this child.  We loved him unconditionally and whole heartedly.  And as people constantly reminded us that we should enjoy each moment...that time would fly by, we never fully believed it.  I mean, we knew that yes technically one day he would be a grown up.  But when you're holding a tiny 8lb newborn in your arms, it seems like 'all grown up' is just a lifetime away.  And as you hold the hand of that adorable, energetic and adventurous toddler...you still cannot quite imagine the day he will be all grown.

As is meant to be, life got busy.  More children blessed our family and careers and business ventures took flight.  The days became jam packed with play dates, doctor appointments, dentist visits, meetings, baseball try outs, dance recitals and homework (lots of homework).  The next thing we knew, that sweet baby boy of ours was heading off to Middle School!  Preteen years came in the blink of an eye.  Yet we still felt the 'all grown up' stage was years and years away!  We still had so much more to experience and enjoy with our son!  We had football seasons to look forward too and countless sleepovers with his friends.  Camping trips and vacations and, oh yes, homework (lots of homework).  

As our son entered his High School years we definitely had that moment of WOW.  Ya this is getting real!  Driving school, first part time job, sports and school projects became our life!  Yet 4 years of High School was still 4 years - that's quite a long time!  We still had plenty of time before he was 'all grown up'!  Then came the day I realized I was having to look up to my 6 foot tall 'baby boy' and having to buy him razors to shave his beard!  I had another man in the house.  But still, we had time.

Junior year of High School came and we started talking about careers and colleges and for the very first time I go that twinge of anguish in  my stomach, thinking, wow someday he really will move out.  I always knew it would happen, but now we were getting even closer.  Now it was getting truly real.

And just like that.  Here we are.  The parents of an 18 year old adult.  The parents of a boy (eh hem, man) who graduated from High School just a few weeks ago.  It happened.  The phrases of advice we had heard over and over all those years...had come true.  Time really did fly by.  He really did grow up...and we couldn't be more proud of him.

As most of you all know, I spend my days photographing toddlers and babies and mostly newborns.  I cannot help but to hold those sweet newborn babies and think.  It feels like just yesterday my son, Kyle, was a newborn all swaddled in my arms.  It's almost surreal.

So, here I am, another voice in your head telling you to enjoy every moment.  Time really will fly by.  Enjoy every hug and kiss and snuggle.  Enjoy the bad days, just as much as the good.  Put down your cell phone or laptop, turn off the TV and spend time with your littles.  Listen to them, smile at them, praise them and encourage them.  Let them crawl into your bed for extra cuddles, take them on vacations and adventures.  Teach them and show them, by your example, how to be kind and show empathy.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  Pick your battles.  Yell as little as possible, talk calmly as much as possible.  Take their pictures often, for the sweet baby face will be a memory all too soon.  And most importantly love them with all you have, because after all, they will grow up...just like that.

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