I had a fantastic time at my wife’s family reunion this past weekend in East Tennessee.
Every year her family rents a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Everyone comes from far and wide to reunite for a few days, to spend time cooking, eating, talking, swimming and chilling with each other.
When I got home tonight I was showing my son some photos from previous years. Last year he wasn’t confident in the pool, the year before that he was just walking, before that he was just a baby and an only child.
Seeing my adolescent nieces and nephews made me think about how the time has passed between reunions, about how our children are growing up.
I was stunned this weekend with how much our nieces and nephews have grown, they are from 8 to 16 now. They are great kids, but they are no longer little children who I had grown accustomed to seeing there each year.
When I first started going to the reunions we didn’t have kids yet. Now when I look at photos from just three years ago, those young relatives have really matured. They are teens and tweens now. As that age dictates, they are all about hanging out with each other instead of the adults. It’s all about independence now.
We use to end each weekend with an improvised play by the kids. The shows always included a comedy segment, some dramatic scenes by the pool (pictured here) and finally a magic act. The show was always an endless example of how kids imaginations work. We adults would tire towards the end of the show, but we would always cheer and applaud like we were watching a Broadway musical.
My kids are 2 and 3, they aren’t quite ready to perform a variety show yet. Parents always tell us how our kids will grow quickly, I never doubted this for a minute. I notice their growth all of the time, especially in pictures and videos.
What’s sinking in is that their innocence will only remain fully intact for a few more years. Our children really are growing quickly, too quickly sometimes. When I see how fast our family has grown, I realize it’s only going to occur faster with our own kids. Soon they will be performing the reunion variety show, soon after they will outgrow it.
We tend to get caught up so much in our professional lives that we sometimes miss the most important people in them. Shut your machine off, kill your phone, get out there and spend some time with your children while you have it.