I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a toddler. Physically speaking, there is nothing more adorable on the planet. Soft ringlets. Big eyes. Chubby feet. Large enough for independent mobility, small enough to curl up in your lap.
They are perfect.
Perhaps even more enchanting than the physical elements are all of the other things that accompany this period. The beginning abilities to hold a conversation. Innocent musings that could only come from the mind and the mouth of the very young. Exciting milestones proudly conquered daily; hopping on one foot, singing a song, kicking a ball.
I reveled in the years of toddlerdom, not taking one day for granted when my two boys were small. I took mental notes of everything, forever tucked away in my memory. How they smelled when they woke in the morning. Sweetly furrowed brows of concentration while figuring out how to interlock the large pieces of the zoo train puzzle. The way the shadows of their small silhouettes fell in the sunshine. Sweaty, little fists wrapped around wilted bouquets of wildflowers. I even remember what it feels like to fold tiny pajamas.
The one factor that tainted these short years was a constant voice in the back of my mind: This won’t last forever. This won’t last forever. And it didn’t.
Poof. I have a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old.
No more babies in my lap. No more helpers sitting on the kitchen counter. No more Curious George in the afternoon.
But I have other things now.
A boy who hits a small ball with a bat, and the pride in his eyes when he accomplishes this feat.
Another boy, equipped with scissors and colored pencils, tirelessly creating.
Both boys, strong and fast, gliding effortlessly on bikes down the back path.
My companions to the movie theatre, passing a box of Milk Duds between us, like three old friends.
My compassionate problem-solvers, impressing me with their ability to find our dog in the storm, and then make a soft, safe place for her.
My comedians, all three of us laughing out loud at their impressions of me (“Coffee! Where’s my coffee?!”).
And a bouquet of wilted wildflowers sitting in my kitchen window.
I find myself relishing these moments, too.
I still take mental notes. Just like when they were toddlers, I don’t want the time to end. When will these moments will disappear? This won’t last forever. This won’t last forever.
Then I remember the joy that has come with the passage of time. There will be more love, more laughter, and more wildflowers.
More wonder awaits.
You may also like: