The Gift of Growing Up

By Jenny Dendinger

My family recently celebrated my daughter’s 15th birthday, so I shared a few pictures on social media. Many of our family and friends left comments wishing her a happy birthday with a few of them teasing that she needs to stop growing up. 

It’s so common for us to look at our babies and think that time is flying by too fast. We only get so many birthdays with them before they leave the nest, so while our kids are always excited to watch their age climb its way into adulthood, it can sometimes make us mamas feel the opposite.

This year, those same comments about growing up hit my heart differently. Instead of focusing on how our time with her at home is drawing closer to its end, I was hit with a punch of gratitude that she is here with us to celebrate.

About six months ago, my cousin’s beloved daughter, Sarah Jane, was diagnosed with cancer. A month after her diagnosis, Jesus called her home.

She was just a couple of weeks shy of her 15th birthday.

While I know that all of the “Stop growing up!” comments are always meant as lighthearted jokes, I’ll never think of them in the same way again.

Now they serve as a gentle reminder to pray for the souls of the faithful departed, for those mourning the loss of their loved ones, and in gratitude for each and every day that my family is blessed with the gift of growing up.

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