I get lost in the haze of daily tasks, on to the next to the next until we finally make it out the door and I feel like I have narrowly escaped something. I’m not sure what, but it was really chasing me back there, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that sun on my face, because it’s now more real than the stress I was swimming through while making lunches and listening to my kids argue.

I also find myself sinking into the depths of love for these kids at least a few times a day, which has to be a pretty good rate, considering all the tasks and chasing and arguing. When I look at them—and really see them—it’s thrilling and terrifying and beautiful and painful and above all, I see that they aren’t mine.

They’re here on loan from their future selves, from the universe or nature or whatever higher power you believe in.

My 2-year-old daughter closely guards her feelings in a way only a 2-year-old can. She is feisty and emotional with her true softness is hidden inside. It can be hard to get a genuine snuggly hug with her, but last night after helping her work through some big intense feelings and sad, sad tears, she sat on my lap and asked me to put my hand on her chest while I held her.

I felt her heart beating under my hand so fast. I almost couldn’t believe it keeps that up all day and all night, every day. How can I remember to be grateful for that heart beating it’s rhythm so quickly, tirelessly, without even a thought from me?

I feel like my children’s caretaker and I try to be their teacher. I know I’m sometimes a great example, but I’m not running that heart. She is. They are. The great machine of life is running it’s current through the bodies of these people who were once a part of mine.

I have to sit here knowing that and still go to sleep and wake up and make more lunches—and somehow love them and see them, really see them.

It’s hard so much of the time, but I will remember to be thankful for these fast little hearts growing in my care. Of me, but not mine.