The Wonder of Growing Up

freshman year

That’s my girl … on her first day of high school. She was equal parts excited and terrified as I dropped her off last Thursday. We managed, for the first time ever!, to be ready early on the first day of school … and so we have actual first day of school pictures achieved without any screaming or crying or rushing. A gift, y’all.

Then, because clearly the Lord has opened the floodgates of blessing for my girl, we arrived at the school right behind her two very best friends and all three of these beautiful and precious girls hopped out of their mommas’ cars and into hugs and squeals and relief at not being alone on the first day of high school.

I pulled out of the circle drive in front of the high school and realized how quickly the time flies. I’ll only be driving her to one more first day of school because we’ll blink and she’ll have her driver’s license and then we’ll blink again and it will be graduation day.

And while all the emotions swirled in my heart and mind, I looked back at all the other firsts — preschool, kindergarten, new schools, dances, ball games, recitals. And then I thought about all the lasts — morning nap, time she played with American Girl dolls, day of elementary school, night in our home in Georgia.

It’s good, y’all. It’s really, really good. Firsts and lasts are gifts. They mark progress and growth. This girl of mine is becoming less a girl and more a woman. It’s happening right before my eyes. And that is a gift.

It’s easy to lose sight of the wonder of our children growing up.

We want to slow time down, hold them close, and keep them safe. I get it. It’s our natural instinct as parents to protect them. But I’m finding the definition of protecting changes as my girl gets older.

Everything used to be very black and white — stay off the street, don’t touch the stove, wear your floaties when you’re in the pool. But these days, there is so much more nuance to the conversation. We make far fewer blanket statements and far more individual determinations about what she can and can’t do. We’ve begun giving her more leeway to make her own choices and more responsibility for herself.

Oh we’re still here reminding her to do her homework and making sure she eats plenty of protein-rich foods. But we’re watching her mature and become the most amazing person … and I love it!

Our job as parents is no where near done.

But 14-1/2 years into the process, I see the results of choices we made when she was little. All the reminders about saying “please,” “thank you,” “yes ma’am,” and “no sir” are now habits of common courtesy and being polite. Involving her in all the ways we serve in our church and community have given her the ability to see needs and take action for meeting them.

When she was little we watched in awe as she rolled over, scooted, crawled, and took her first step. Now we are watching as she takes her first steps toward young adulthood … she’s wobbly but we are right there to lend stability to her uncertainty. It’s a beautiful thing to watch your baby grow up and see how God is answering the prayers you prayed {and the ones you were not smart enough to utter!}.

Far too often I encounter parents who long for the years behind, wishing away the beauty of today. I made a decision while pregnant to embrace every season and celebrate the excitement it brought.  And so, while the awareness my girl may only live in our home for four more years definitely makes me a little teary, I choose to enjoy today. To embrace all the experiences ahead of her during high school and to encourage her to jump in with both feet and live well.

don't miss the wonder of watching your child grow up!

Life is fragile … and I am determined to cherish these moments and etch these days in my heart and mind. Our children grow up way too fast for us to risk missing the wonder of watching it happen because we were too busy or distracted or overwhelmed.

My challenge to you is the same as it for myself: Choose to enjoy today!


What is a lesson you are learning as a parent?

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. My daughter heads to college ( first year) in less than 2 weeks. I never thought this time would come (honestly I didn’t want it to). I am desparately trusting the Lord with my girl!

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