In 2008 we welcomed our sons into our family. Two adorable, brown headed, chubby cheeked toddlers. They were strangers to each other and to us and overnight we became a family. We missed the baby stage and most of the first two years of their lives. So it would not be surprising to know that we worked very hard at making up for lost time.

We packed a lot of activity and memory building and bonding into those first few years. Those special precious years where they were home with mother and father and learning to love and be a family. We look back on it now and see the pictures of who they were and how much they’ve grown.

We marvel at how fast everything went. It doesn’t feel like 12 years flew by. It feels like 12 years was warp speed. Those two adorable little men have grown into extremely tall 14-year-olds.

Seemingly overnight their interests changed from Beyblade‘s to fortnight. They spend hours in what used to be an amazing playroom turned amazing hangout space. Watching silly movies with their friends and talking about all manner of teen boy things. The best part about having a brother the same age as you is you also have a friend for life and someone with your same interests.

I miss the days when they were little and would run into the bed and climb in with us and cuddle. Or one of them would wake early and we would make our way to the kitchen and put together pancakes on a Sunday morning. I miss their little language that they had with each other. I miss they are make-believe. Watching them dress up in costumes and hockey gear. Or putting potholders over their feet so they could pretend they were skating through the house on the wood floors. They were so joyful at all things.

One day Our children are crying for us as they skin their knee and allow us to kiss them and cuddle them and rock them until they feel better. Or we get to chase them around in a game of tag, videotaping in your mind the look on their face as they look back laughing and smiling in great joy.

The ages and stages of those few years of being little boys is filled with perfect memories.

We were talking not that long ago about the good memories of their childhood. I like to think they had a great childhood but hearing it from them certainly makes me feel good knowing that they had great memories.

Childhood is such a short time in a persons life. I don’t think that children really truly appreciate what they have until they reach 14 and older and realize that they are no longer children and they have responsibilities. The elder of the two boys, by five months, said he would trade places with his seven-year-old sister in a heartbeat. Because she has so much to look forward to as a child and he misses it.

I miss it. I confess that having little ones around the house is really a wonderful way to be a mother. Teenagers, they have their moments of joy but it’s not as often as when they were young boys. That constant smiling and laughter. Chasing each other through the house and through the garden. Coming into the kitchen and sneaking another piece of banana bread. Wait a minute! Today after dinner while doing the dishes there was a lot of laughter and smiling. And the teasing turned into chasing each other through the house. I made a pumpkin pie and it’s gone. I think we had some sneaking going on. Maybe they are not so far away from who they were as toddlers.

I find myself now clinging to this stage. Hoping that they won’t change too quickly out of it. The awkward early teen years. Pimples. Calls from girls. Lots of calls to their friends. Candy everywhere. Messy rooms. Toys replaced with books and magazines and electronics. If I couldn’t hang onto the little of them maybe I can just grab a little more of this stage. Who am I kidding? In a few years they’ll be driving. I’m not just going to miss the little boys they were or the teenagers that they are, I’m going to miss them. Because the world is opening up to them. And they will be gone. They’ll come home and have dinner and stay up too late and leave messages. But we’ll all be passing in the night. We’ll lose touch with some of who they are. I hope they will be OK with a lot of questions. Maybe I should stock up on banana bread so they’ll sneak in and stay and chat and tell me all about their day. If only I could follow them around and watch them become who they are going to be.

Yes this childhood thing goes far too fast. Hang on to every moment that you can parents. This is a blessing and the curse of this blessing is that when we do the job that we’re supposed to it means losing them to the world. I hope the world enjoys them as much as I do.

Margaret Morton and sons Eugi and Richard age 14 Loved