The Quickening: From Baby to High School Graduate in Sixty Seconds

time moves in one direction memory quote

The quickening.

It’s what the pregnancy books call the moment when a soon-to-be mom is physically aware of the movements of her baby.




I remember a bubbly effervescence, a tiny tapping, a feeling akin to little butterflies launching.

From that first motion on, parenthood became a quickening too. A series of moments accelerating. Too. Fast.

My daughter is moving at warp speed. One minute she’s appearing on an ultrasound screen, a bouncy, blurry greyness that I hardly could believe was real.

The next minute she’s graduating from high school. This week. Now. (Pass me the tissues.)

We tried to slow her down, if only for a minute, capturing memories on our front porch that first day of Kindergarten–and every first day of school since.

c kindergarten_opt

c first grade_opt

c second grade_optfirst day school third grade_opt

first day school fourth grade_opt

first day of school fifth grade_opt

first day of school sixth grade_opt

first day of school seventh grade_opt

first day of school eighth grade_opt

first day of school ninth grade_opt

first day of school tenth grade_opt

first day of school eleventh grade_opt

senior high school graduation_opt

 Taking her own photo on the porch.


It all seems just a little too soon.


What’s flying by too fast for you? And does anyone have access to a time machine?


Have a SWEET week,

Coleen xo

47 thoughts on “The Quickening: From Baby to High School Graduate in Sixty Seconds

  1. You made me go get the tissues, Coleen! You have expressed this so perfectly. My son graduated from high school a week ago so I know exactly how you feel! Congratulations to your beautiful daughter on such an achievement, and congratulations to you, the proud mom! My husband teaches elementary school and whenever parents mourn about how fast their kids are growing up and leaving home he says, don’t worry. They’ll be back after college 🙂


  2. Awh, how cool that you took pictures in the same place. I wish I had thought of that. They are wonderful memories. I cannot imagine my kids at that age. You must be a proud mom right now.


  3. I can identify – my oldest is scuba diving this week in the Keys – sans family. He’s growing up and moving on….. the best part is that he paid for the entire adventure on his own! He sold wreaths for his troop and pocketed the commission to pay for his scouting adventures. They grow up quickly – I can remember holding him in my arms that first time priceless.


  4. My oldest daughter is in her third trimester with her first child … in a few short weeks she and her husband shall be parents (and yes, I will be a grandmother!). Life is all about memories and the future intertwining these days …


  5. Very cool timeline of pictures! I am sure you raised a terrific daughter. They do grow up fast! My nephew just turned 21 and I still remember holding him in my arms as a baby like it was just a few weeks ago. Then taking him to Disney World and making him go on the rides with me.

    Heading to Florida tomorrow to visit family and see him. Now he is a giant and towers over me!


  6. I can definitely relate! My oldest is going into 6th grade next year, the dreaded Middle School! That means my youngest will be riding the bus to school solo next year. I’m nervous for both of them and wondering where the time went! I can remember feeling the quickening for both of them like it was yesterday and now they’re turning 11 and 7 soon 😦 I look forward to watching them grow but yes, I need a time machine too 🙂


  7. That’s so wonderful, what a lovely timeline of memories. My daughter will be graduating 4th grade next week, and then it’s off to the big middle school. No more elementary school! I’m terrible with change, so this time of year tends to be hard on me.

    Have a lovely summer!


    1. Middle school! To me that’s such a big transition, so much change. I tend to forecast change, thinking about it WAY ahead of time. *sigh*
      Happy summer to you too, Kate. 🙂


  8. What a beautiful tribute to your lovely daughter. I loved watching her grow up. And congratulations to her! My husband’s grandson graduated yesterday from high school. Time flies. But, it’s time to let go no matter how hard it may be, because you’ve taught her well! It will be fun for you to watch her move into the next phase of her life. Congratulations to you!


  9. You have a very beautiful daughter. That summer between 6th and 7th grades must have been a doozy for you. She sure did some growing and maturing that year.

    And now, on to the college photos!

    Congratulations to the proud momma!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  10. Coleen, your daughter is gorgeous. I love her big smile. 🙂 Sometimes, it seems like they’ll never grow up (especially during those teen years), then suddenly they’re graduating and moving on with the next phase of their life. I hope you have lots of tissues. 🙂


  11. Wonderful pictures. Congratulation to her! I hope I remember to take a picture like this in the same spot for my toddler tornado, who will in a blink be on his way to school. If, we survive potty training. ….


    1. Thanks, Stacy. I can’t even remember how we decided to do the photos like that. It might have something to do with me growing up as a military kid and moving so much that I liked the idea of a photo in one place every year. 🙂


  12. Congratulations, Coleen, to you and your daughter. Its an exciting and scary time ahead. But, that could be said from the first moment of quickening, couldn’t it?

    Personally I don’t want a time machine, I don’t want to go backward, but I would love a machine that would let the wonderful days last and last and last.

    I’m sure you and your daughter will have many wonderful days to come, may their sweetness last and last and last for both of you.


  13. Oh, I went through this twice a few years ago.. I can assure you, it keeps getting better and better. If you look at the incredible blossoming of your sweet little girl into that self-assured gorgeous young woman, you will get an idea of what’s ahead for both of you:) She so beautiful, inside and out.. and you’ve captured that in her photos. I can imagine you had quite a few tears at grad! Congratulations!! xx


  14. Congrats on your daughter’s graduation, Coleen. It’s such a milestone, a time packed with tons of emotion. I love that quote and the photos of your daughter growing up. Super touching to see her grow up before our very eyes and bloom into a beautiful young woman. And I love your perspective on the quickening. Very cool. The decades have blazed by and my kids are grown and two are parents, so the cycle continues to amaze me as I witness my grandkids growing up sooooooo fast! Life is good.


  15. Yikes Coleen, the daughter has graduated? Eeh gadz. Where does the time go. Lynn’s right. This is a huge milestone. I remember when my sons graduated. I hated it to be honest. But I was spoiled because they could not afford to move out for several years. So it was like extra credit, you know? I cherished those times with them. And you can’t get it back. It’s gone with a blink of an eye. It’s sick, is what it is. I would shrink them back in a heartbeat. And I’m sure you would too. Love our kids Coleen. Hang in there mom. It’s a ruff ride, but you’re tough! Is she going away for college or staying close to home?


  16. Congrats to your beautiful daughter, Coleen. You were wise beyond your years to pose her at the same spot on the first day of school each year. What a wonderful album of memories you’ve created.

    Thanks for letting me relive/remember the many hairstyles my sisters and I and later my daughters and their friends went through. What is it with girls and hair?


  17. To me, all of life seems to have that quality of being fleeting — unless of course I’m doing something that I genuinely enjoy, and then I am too absorbed to fret about its fleeting nature. So it seems like the best way to live life, at least for me, is to do something I enjoy as often as possible.


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