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It just hit me. I’m going to be sad. 

I’m going to be sad when you don’t want to go to the library with me anymore. When you are no longer my sidekick, ever-present in the car seat, in the shopping cart, on my hip. I will miss you at this age. I will miss you at all agesall of which seem to go by too quickly. 

I’m going to be sad when you don’t need me to put your socks on. Your shoes. Your coat. I’ll miss the sing-songy way I instruct you how to do daily tasks and the way you giggle at me. Your little ponytail. Your little pout.

I’m going to be sad when you don’t have your binky anymore.

When my baby becomes a big girl but is still a baby in my heart. I’ll try my best to remember you’re growing, and that I can’t keep you small forever. But that sweet smile you make, the way it curls around that binky when I come to wake you up in the morningsI would be lying if it didn’t gut me that this ends. The binky. All of it.

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I will miss you asking for snacks and yelling, “More!” when I deposit the last Cheerio into your snack tray. Because one day, I’ll have a quiet, Cheerio-free car. Oh, God, what a world. It seems so far away, and I like it that way. 

Someday, my car will be a car where I’ll be able to play my own music without concern about you picking up a bad word or a theme I don’t feel you should learn about yet. And I’m sure it will be nice . . . for a few days. 

But I know I’m going to be sad.

The echoes of your giggles, your cries, and your toys will haunt the space, and I’ll miss you. 

I pray these days will mean as much to you as they mean to me. I hope you’ll grow up and remember all the fun things we used to do, even if it’s just vague memories that make you tear up when you see a photograph of yourself, with your big, partially-toothed grin, eating lunch at the children’s museum with daddy and me. The playdates with friends. Playing dress up, making cookies.

But perhaps you won’t, and this is just a gift God has given methese sweet memories, all dressed up in sepia and gold, like afternoon light, preserved in my heart, forever.

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It may always make me tear up like this, thinking of you, your innocence, your need for meyour need for life, its sweetness, its novelty, and its comforts. The ritual of bedtime stories, the bathtime bubbles, the cozy pajamas. The way you just love your daddy, more than anything. (More than Goldfish crackers. And that’s saying a lot.)

And the waterworks these memories cause . . . I have to realize that’s okay.

It’s okay to be sad. It means I loved this time with you, and I will cherish it forever. It doesn’t mean I won’t be happy in the next phase, and the next one, and the next one. It just means you have been loved. So, so loved. And I’ll never forget the way I loved you, at this age and all ages. 

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Kate Wilde

Kate Wilde is a writer, poet, and mama to a wonderfully spirited toddler. 

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