So last weekend, the doorbell rang. I answered it to find myself looking up into the smiling face of a 6'2" gentlemen wearing basketball shorts and a T-shirt.
“Hello Mrs. Bowne,” he replied in a deep, resonating voice, “I was wondering if Josh could come out and play?”
I blinked. “JORDAN?!”
I stepped down onto the porch, which put my 5-ft.-tall self at an even greater height disadvantage as I looked up into his smiling face. This was my neighbor’s 13-year-old grandson. Thirteen! I’m tellin’ ya’, this whole puberty thing is freaking me out!

My daughter is now 16, and I do recall noticing surprising changes in her and her friends, as they moved through middle school. It seemed like over one summer vacation those two-dimensional little girl bodies formed 3-D curves and bumps.

But somehow, the pubescent changes seem even more dramatic amongst the boys. I look at my own son, with his cherubic, hair-free face and body, his normal boy voice. Then I look at his friends and soccer teammates. They vary so incredibly. Some are just like him, and some seem to have transformed overnight.

They suddenly have hair on their legs. They address me in deep man voices (I never even recall experiencing one squeaky voice-cracking day), and some of them even need a shave! I think back with bitter sweetness to Joshua’s toddler days. His tiny, baby-chipmunk voice demanding I watch as he raced his new Match Box car down the hallway. Or squealing for me to push him higher on the swing.

I remember at that time, parents of older children telling me to appreciate those times because they would go by just like that! Yeah right, I thought—it took every minute of five years to get through the first five years of their lives. But it does seem like, once they get into school, the time passes more quickly. Maybe because you only get to see them on nights, weekends and vacations.

Aside from certain moments, overall I’ve enjoyed each phase of my children’s development. It’s such a cool experience! I get to watch as their personalities develop, their confidence grows. I get to listen as they form opinions on politics, society and religion. I get to witness the emergence of their individual gifts and talents.

Sure there are occasions when I wouldn’t mind trading teenage troubles for the dilemma of getting them to share a toy, or take a nap. But honestly, I wouldn’t really give up these times.

My children are each an amazing work of art--forming and reshaping right before my very eyes. And I’m blessed to even help mold them a little as they form. Like freshly emerged butterflies from a chrysalis, their colors are so fresh and vivid right now-- as they slowly test their wings, and ultimately learn to fly.

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