I was on my way to pick up my daughter from camp, and my mind wandered to a memory of a few years ago, just before I was pregnant with her. In that moment I became overwhelmed by how much I love her and her brothers. It was all consuming. It’s hard to describe in words.

These moments take your breath away because you realize how your love for your children isn’t just emotional but physical too.

I’m the first to admit at times (more than I’d like to admit) my kids can drive me crazy. I can count the minutes to bed time and then express glee to get into bed and read a book or watch TV undisturbed. I treasure adult time and girls nights. I dream of kid-free vacations with endless relaxation and pre-dinner naps. Yet, I’m so deeply grateful for the children I have. When I truly think about my emotions for them, it’s overwhelming. It’s a love that hurts because it’s so much.

As I pull up to pick them up from school, I’m smiling, because there’s no better feeling than the smile you get when their eyes find you. It’s a mutual overwhelming love. The first person they want to pick them up when they fall is you and the first person they want to share something exciting with is you.

These are the days, when family time is everything. When each of us affects the others’ daily lives. When they greet each other first thing in the morning and give kisses before bed each night. These are the days where our bonds are strengthened and memories are made. The years are flying by even with the slow minutes of the daily dinner/bath/bedtime routine.

Cherish the moments that are calm, embrace the moments that are not, because it all adds up to this time period that only happens once: when your kids are young and living at home, and your family bubble is the most important.