The Very Beginning: All the Unknowns, All the Dreams….And All the LOVE.
Lately, I look at my daughters and I am stunned at how old they appear to me. Gone are any traces of the chunky, baby-rolled legs I could kiss for hours. Gone are the delicious chubby cheeks which have now been replaced by beautiful, slender big-girl profiles. And gone is their insatiable need to be held and “mushed-up” by their mama. Oh I can still get hugs and kisses and tickle-time and cuddling, but it’s a little less frequent then I’d prefer and certainly I have to request it more often than I’d like. There was a time not too long ago when they would constantly hold my hand and want to be wrapped-up in my arms, and now those moments are fewer and far between. I know it’s all part of my babies growing up and asserting more of their independence, but deep inside there is part of me deeply saddened by this subtle, slow shift in their development.
When Big Sis Used to LOVE When Little Sis Woke-Up from Her Naps! Always the first to run in and greet her with a smile!
Of course I love that they aren’t “clingy” kids and feel confident to do things on their own without my constant approval or hovering interference. This is definitely a good thing and not lost on me, as I see plenty of kids that can’t move an inch without mommy right behind them. I certainly don’t want to raise children that can’t make a move without me, but I am a bit sad that their constant need for me has inevitably waned. Of course I’m still mostly the center of their world, but not quite the center of the universe like I once was. I know this is healthy and normal and all a part of kids growing up, but it still hurts. And this brings me to the title of today’s post about savoring the small moments.
D’s Very First Steps: So glad we caught them on film!
Last night my girls were torturing their Papa after dinner, trying to “surf” on his back and wacking him with swimming noodles. Of course they thought it was hilarious, as evidenced by their high-pitched giggles and squeals. Squeals which soon escalated quickly into boisterous, all-out delirious laughter when Papa started launching an offensive tickle attack back. And during those fifteen or twenty minutes, I could have been putting laundry away or taking a shower or stealing alone time to read my book. But boy am I glad that I didn’t. Watching my children play with my dad, rough-housing and cracking-up on the bedroom floor, just as I did with him as a little girl, made me realize yet again how fleeting life is and how quickly all these moments move past you.
Sweet Moment: just pickin’ flowers together, not a care in the world. As it should be.
My mom said to me in the middle of it all, “this is what it’s all about.” And her words could not be more true. One minute you’re rocking them on your breast in the middle of the night, then they are crawling, walking and talking and in a few months one of mine will be off to kindergarten all day long, every single day. I swear I blinked and it all flashed before me. I keep asking myself: Did I pay enough attention these past six years? Did I savor each milestone enough? Have I truly appreciated all those tiny, precious moments with each of my girls? Have I done enough? Been enough? Will they ever really know how much I have loved every minute of it? And how much I love them?
Kisses and Cuddles for My Baby Girls (who, sadly, aren’t babies at all anymore : (
I look back at all the pictures and I see a tremendous amount of love and laughter. In my heart I know I’ve done the best I can for them during these foundational, early childhood years and my memory is full of good times and precious moments. But I can’t help but wonder if it was enough, if I’ve been enough. Already, they seem to need me less and less. I dropped A off at Cheer Camp last week and when we got inside she just turned and waved with a smile and said, “Bye, Mom!” That was it! My heart was aching that she didn’t want to have a long, drop-off hug or that she didn’t need to hold onto my leg and wait for a familiar face to arrive or cry a little because she would miss me and wanted to stay with me. Nope, she just ran off and that was that. And even though I couldn’t be more proud of her self-esteem and independence, I gotta admit, it stung a little that she didn’t need me to hang around until she was comfortable.
Perhaps all of this is coming on so strong because Kindergarten is such a huge milestone in a child’s life. Or maybe it’s because we moved out of our first home – the home where we have spent the last six years being a family together, where we brought home both babies from the hospital and spent all of these early, wonderful years living. Or maybe it’s because I can’t decide if we should go for a third. And if we don’t, then will I regret it? And if we do, then can I handle all these heartaches all over again? It’s so hard to know what to do and what choice to make and in the middle of all this agonizing and ruminating, am I missing more small moments I should be savoring instead?