Slow down, baby girl. There’s no rush.

I thought these words to myself as you shakily walked across the room for the first time ever. My heart caught in my throat as I was suddenly overcome with conflicting emotions.

I was so ridiculously proud of you. Never before had you made this trip on your feet—many times on your hands and knees but never on your own two feet. I smiled at you as tears of pride welled up and you beamed back at me with that sweet toothy grin, equally proud of the feat you were in the midst of accomplishing. I could see in your smile you were doing the very thing you had been eagerly waiting to do. You were entering a whole new world of possibility. No more bruised knees. No more trying to catch up with the rest of the family. The days of crawling were over, and you would now be able to keep up with your big sister who you had been desperately following since you could crawl. 

There was also a lump in my throat as I thought to myself, I’m not ready for this.

I’m not ready for you to walk and run and leave this season of being my baby. I want you to grow up to be a beautiful young woman but I don’t want you to do that today. Today, I just want to cherish your littleness and believe that we could be here in this moment forever. What if I suddenly forget what yesterday was like? What if I missed the chance to etch it into my memory? I didn’t realize you would be moving on so soon.

There’s no rush, baby girl. There will be plenty of time for walking in the years to come. How about we just sit and cuddle for a little longer? I sat smiling, but inside I was coming undone. How could my heart swell with pride and break a little, all at the same time?

Slow down, baby girl. There’s no rush.

I stared at you as I tried to capture this moment in my mind forever. Before your littleness all but disappears. Before our days of diapers and nursery rhymes and playdates are over. Baby girl, you don’t understand, these are the best days of my life. The hardest and longest and most exhausting, but the best days of my life. 

As you grow, you will have no recollection of this season of your life. Sometimes I reflect on that, about how these are the best days of my life yet you won’t even remember them. Sometimes it makes me sad until my husband reminds me that even though you won’t remember these times, the way these early years play out will leave an imperishable mark on your soul. Our days at home will shape you in to the woman who you will one day become. And even if you don’t remember our thousands of memories that we are creating, I will. I will always look back with fondness to this time. These early years will leave an indelible mark on who you are, and they will also leave their indelible mark on me. 

Baby girl, you will be so great. You are so full of potential and I look forward to the days when you will realize the dreams in your heart. I will dream big for you and hope and pray that you can achieve even greater things than your mama ever could.

But for today, oh just for today, I wish we could slow down the time. Mama can’t keep up today. Mama doesn’t want to keep up today. Let’s slow down and pretend we will always be in the here and now. I know it can’t be, but let’s just pretend for a moment or two. 

Baby girl, there’s no rush.

Sina Steele

Sina is a wife, mom and creative from New Zealand. Along with raising her daughters, she enjoys working from home in social media, design and writing. She serves alongside her husband at a Christian missions-training college in New Zealand. She loves encouraging women to step out in faith, and you can find her writing ministry over at Her Mustard Faith.