A new friend recently invited us to accompany her little clan (herself with her three kids under 5) to a children’s museum on Bainbridge Island. The day was bright after a week of dark and rain, so after the museum we took a stroll through downtown to find a bakery. We window shopped, took breaks to climb bike racks, jump off benches and watch tractors, found a neat toy store, chased and herded the toddler, and fielded tired kids and a sick Cedar at the end. I’m glad to get to know this new friend (who is also married to a Montanan, and is a photographer to boot) and her sweet young children. Being with them makes me realize how old my kids are now; that my days with my kids today are filled with new and different kinds of challenges and connections than those when they were little. I feel simultaneously sad and glad: I miss those wee smiles and snuggles, those days of couch time, nap time, little laughs, simple needs and so much wonder; yet I’m thankful to ‘know’ my kids now so much more deeply, to share knowing smiles with them, to listen and understand, and to continuously discover new ways to partner with them as we evolve together. I am glad to be able to remember those days… so I can cherish these ones.