They tell you time passes quickly. But I didn’t understand.

“Blink and you’ll miss it,” they said. But I didn’t understand.

I knew time would take my baby and replace him with a man, but I didn’t know it would take the moments along with it. They said I’d miss it, but no one told me I’d forget.

No one told me I’d forget the smell of your newborn head nestled into the crook of my neck. I remember you there, small and trusting, warm and soft. But the smell of your scalp is something I can’t recall.

No one told me I’d forget what your eyes looked like while I nursed you.

I cradled you in my arms, I rocked you back and forth. I know we were there, you and me, but the gaze of your eyes as you lay in my arms, escapes me.

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I knew that you’d grow heavy and long, that you’d uncurl from your ball and be longer than my torso. But no one told me I’d forget the feeling of your head resting on my chest and your legs curled into my tummy.

I knew you’d grow steadier, your waddle turned into a strong gate. I knew you’d learn to stop at the street and look both ways. But no one told me that once I let you walk on your own, I’d forget how your pudgy hand felt in mine.

No one told me that as you grew, I’d no longer hear your little voice in my head, remember the sweet sound of your boundless laughter, or that I’d forget the rhythm of your breath as you slowly soothed to my lullabies.

They tell you time passes quickly. But I didn’t understand.

I didn’t understand that I’d look at you and you’d be eight and I’d feel like I knew you wholly, and yet, didn’t know you at all. I didn’t understand that I wouldn’t be able to remember the little moments when it was just you and me.

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But, I also didn’t understand that even when forgotten, the little moments matter. Those forgotten memories are what brought us to today. They taught me how to love you in the special ways that speak to your heart. Those moments taught me how your mind thinks and your body moves. They taught me when to protect you and when to let you grow.

Those little memories created the us we are todayeven if I can’t remember each detail of who we were yesterday.

Because I know how your head smells, now. I know what your thin, strong hand feels like, and I know what your eyes look like when we talk about things that give you joy.

I can recognize your voice and your laugh from an auditorium full of voices.

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And I now understand that one day, I will look at you and you’ll be 17, and I will feel like I know you wholly but don’t know you at all.

And that will be OK because my head may have forgotten, but my heart will always know.

Nicole Lasley

Nicole is a wife and a mama to three energetic boys, a Licensed Massage Therapist, and loves sewing, writing, and cheesecake.