Some days I don’t notice anything at all. It’s a challenge to get through the day. Alarm clocks going off. Clothing to sort through. Lunches to pack, backpacks to fill. Kisses out the door. Activities, driving, the constant drops-off and pick-ups. Dinner. Homework and reading. Showers. Prayers, Goodnight.

I sit down on the couch to unwind a little and think about the challenges of the day. How you wouldn’t wash the shampoo from your hair or how you fought about staying seated while eating your dinner. Those little arguments that really just don’t matter at all but we have nonetheless. The ones that sometimes, I wish I’d handled differently. Or the ones I think I handled just right—the ones that are teaching you responsibility and how to adapt in the world on your own one day. How one day, your spouse will thank me for teaching you to pick up after yourself or clear your dishes or say genuine thank yous and look into a person’s eyes.

I also think about the tender moments I didn’t fully appreciate. Like how you blew me a kiss from the bus as you drove off. I can still see your little face in the window, watching me as I watched you. How you wanted a snuggle before I tucked you in. The expression on your face after school when you came walking toward me, how I could see in your eyes you were happy to be home—that I was “home”.

And then, I sneak into the room to make sure the covers are still on you. That the temperature is right in your room. That your feet are covered by the blanket because sometimes they poke out. I sneak in for that extra kiss. It’s so late—your little head is on the pillow, eyes closed tightly, dreaming of something magical. I just want to kiss your forehead and smooth away your hair from your eyes, and I see it.

The length of your legs. The size of your head on the pillow. You’re no baby anymore.

Somehow, while I was busy plowing through the days—making sure you used your manners and washed your hands—you grew up.

Blink and you’ll miss it. That’s what I’ve heard since you were born and sometimes it hits me hard. I didn’t miss it—I saw it happening before my eyes. Some moments appreciated, some moments wished away, some not even considered until later. But tonight, it’s on full display. The way your limbs stretched out and your face matured. The way your voice changed and even your vocabulary expanded.

One day I’m helping you put on your socks and the next you’re tying your shoes yourself as you run out the door. Small little bursts of independence have given way to a big kid showing his self-sufficiency.

So for now, tonight, I am going to give you that extra kiss and remind myself to slow down tomorrow.

To take each day as it comes and to savor the good and let go of the bad. To hug more, worry less, and remind myself how it all changes quickly, even when the moments sometimes drag on.

The days are long but the years are short and as we sit in the magic of the moonlight tonight, I can see it as clearly as ever. 

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Caroline Murray

Caroline is a freelance writer, mama to two young children and one sweet baby.  She loves everything country and tries not to take anything too seriously.  You can see more of her at www.the-othermom.com.