Life constantly presents us with change. Sometimes itís welcomed, but often, itís painful and unwanted.
Watching my children grow up could possibly be the hardest change for me to accept.
I fully admit when they were first born I couldnít wait for them to be able to do things for themselves ó to eat, walk, talk or use the bathroom without my help.
My exhaustion as a young, inexperienced parent caused me to wish time away.
When you are in the thick of it, you donít always appreciate the time you are given. Especially when you have two kiddos in diapers, both vying for your attention 24 hours a day.
I was sleep deprived and watched as my once athletic and toned body transformed into a 5-foot-10 tower of flub. My meals consisted of whatever they didnít eat, and my social life was non-existent.
I kept waiting for them to reach their next milestones, not realizing I was being presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
At a recent end-of-the-year high school football and cheerleading banquet I was reminded to embrace the moments.
I was impressed with the awards and accolades that were handed out to the talented group of athletes. But there was one subtle moment that struck me.
The cheerleading captains claimed the podium and thanked those who had pushed them to perform at their best.
When one of the girls thanked their squad "mother" I saw a woman standing behind them with tears in her eyes. She looked down at the ground as the cheer coach beside her rubbed her back.
As I looked closer I realized that the young girl talking shared an undeniable likeness to the woman crying. It wasnít just the squadís mother, but her own.
Watching her daughter, I can only imagine that she was thinking about each car ride to cheerleading practice. All the times she helped put her hair up in a colorful bow. The hundreds of times she washed and laid out her uniform.
Her daughter was unaware of her motherís tears. And if she was aware, she probably didnít understand. You never do at 18; itís not until you are older that you realize time doesnít stand still.
Iíve often considered forcing my children to drink coffee, in order to stunt their growth. Especially when my 8-year-old son stands even with my shoulders and my 5-year-old daughter begs to put on makeup.
But since that isnít a sensible option, the best I can do is help them navigate through life. And remember when they are sassing back because they donít want to eat their dinner, or fighting with each other over the television remote to pause and remember I only get one shot at this.
And no matter what, to let them know Iím their biggest cheerleader.
Heather Gillis Harris is a reporter for the Norton (Mass.) Mirror. A three-sport high school athlete and two-sport college athlete, sports have long been a passion of hers. Reach her at