I remember the day you were born so vividly. It’s etched into my brain as one of the best moments of my life. As if I could ever forget.
I remember the way I felt when I saw you for the very first time. That first snuggle. That feeling of I did it, you’re finally here and thank goodness it’s over.
I remember the first time I tucked my finger into your delicate little hand. When I looked down at you and you looked up at me. That was when my entire world stopped.
I realized at that moment my life was going to change forever.
I was so right.
I look at you now, my beautiful child, and I can’t help but think, Why does it go so fast?
I remember the way you used to point at everything, asking so curiously what it was that you were pointing at. I remember all your firsts.
Your first steps.
The way you would pronounce your first words.
Your coos and cries.
Your first smile, and how you would light up when you saw me enter the room.
I remember how wobbly you were on your feet, and how happy you were when you had made it a little further than you did that last time.
The most beautiful thing was getting to spend every moment with you.
Sure, I got exhausted.
Sure, I got overwhelmed.
I had days I didn’t think I would get through at all.
But I did it.
We did it.
We always did it.
Every day I look at you and I see traces of that beautiful babyhood in your face. But I also see you transforming into your own little person. Right before my very eyes. I know soon enough, I won’t see those traces at all. I know soon enough, you won’t need me at all.
I will hold onto your innocence as long as I can, because man, it goes so fast.
The same little girl who used to invite me into every game and so enthusiastically ask me to be Chase from Paw Patrol or the villain from a superhero movie now tells me she’s going to play with her sister.
I don’t get an invite anymore. And if I do ask, the response I’m greeted with is, “It’s OK, Mom, you can watch today.”
How was it only yesterday I was the center of your world?
You would hold onto every sentence of mine with such delight. I remember the captivating wonder in your eyes as I would tell you the craziest stories, and play such made-up games. No one could replace me, because I was simply “Mom.”
When you first started kindergarten, I used to sit with you and comfort you until you were ready for me to leave. “One more minute please, Mom,” you would say.
Now when I drop you off you tell me, “It’s OK, Mom, you can go now.”
I ask how your day was and you say, “It was good, but let’s not talk about it, Mom.”
I wonder every day where my baby has gone. But the truth is, you haven’t gone anywhere. You’re not a baby, you’re a big girl. And at times that is the hardest pill to swallow. It brings me to tears. Of joy and of sadness.
Because it’s happening so fast.
Big girls would rather play with friends, instead of their moms.
Big girls can choose their own outfits, and lay them out beside their dressers, next to their favorite pair of shoes.
Big girls can read stories on their own or pull the LEGO pieces apart by themselves.
Big girls don’t want help anymore.
Every day you feel a little less mine, and there is something new you can do. “Look Mom, I can write my name,” or, “Mom, I can help you do that today.”
I have never felt so sad and so proud at the same time.
They say it’s a season. And if you miss that season, it’s gone. Seasons change all the time, and so do you.
It just happens so fast.
I reach for your hand and miraculously, you grab it. You smile. You press it to your face. You reassure me that you’re OK. You are OK.
You’re growing, like big girls do.
Please keep reaching for my hand.
Keep enjoying your bedtime snuggles.
Keep giving me your hairbrush and asking for a braid like Elsa.
Keep asking to do dress-up, dancing, and showing me your newest tricks.
These are the little things I’m holding onto. Because I know they may only happen once. Or they all of a sudden change, and you no longer want to do what you did yesterday.
Because you’re a big girl now.
I see you when you use your big girl words.
When you see me struggling, I see you reassure me.
Like big girls do.
I see you take your sister and play with her when I’m frustrated.
I see you when you are cutting out the picture, even more perfectly than you did the last time.
I see you when you play your make-believe games.
I hear you when you tell me it’s OK, even though at times it’s not.
And when you don’t always want me there.
I see you, my big girl.
I know sometimes the days were so daunting, and they would drag. Sometimes it felt like they would never end.
I just wanted to send that text message that had been sitting there all day.
Do that pile of dishes that had been staring at me since last night.
I just wanted a hot coffee and a moment of peace and quiet.
Or to hang the wash out instead of shoving it in the dryer for the 800th time that year.
But I’d do anything to spend another day with that 2-year-old who wanted nothing but to spend her days with her mommy.
Because you’re a big girl now, and you do big girl things.
I know too well that when this season’s over, you will be that much bigger and need me even less. It’s OK not to grow so fast, you know.
I miss you, and when you’re sitting right next to me, I miss you even more.
When did it happen so fast?