This was posted in the blog exchange here
a month ago, but in honor of my daughter's birthday, I've updated it to use here. Does that count as an update? C'mon, cut me some slack...I'm in the middle of selling my business, trying to sell my house, I planned and prepared an Ariel/Princess birthday party, and my mother-in-law is visiting.
My daughter’s birthday party went off without a hitch this weekend. She turned three. How in the heck did that happen? As cliché as it is, I swear it was just yesterday that she was a little blob of baby, screaming bloody murder in her car seat, smearing strained carrots on her high chair tray…sleeping peaceful baby sleep on my shoulder, fascinated by the spots of sunlight on the carpet. Now she goes to preschool. She traces her name and learns the names of the planets. She has a backpack almost as big as she is that she insists on carrying herself.
“I can do it, Mama. I am bigger.”
As we pack to move, I am sorting things to give away that we no longer need. My baby’s stroller went away yesterday. We used to takes walks to get lunch together with that stroller. We would stop along the way so she could pick flowers or watch a lizard dart away into the bushes. Now she can push her doll in it.
“Look, Mama. This is my baby. We are going to the store. See you later.”
Tiny clothes go into a bag. They are for someone else’s baby now. I tie the bags closed – and then rip them open again retrieving items I can’t bear to see go. The striped shirt that needed washed every night because it was all she would wear. The sleeper with the million snaps that drove me crazy every diaper change.
“Mama, I got dressed. I put the tags in the back. I did it myself.”
I remember waiting for her first smile. Hearing her first baby belly laugh. Was it really so long ago?
“Mama, wanna’ hear a joke? Knock knock. Who’s there? Mickey Mouse’s underwear.”
I remember her asleep on her daddy’s chest. I remember her nestled in the crook of his arm.
“Mama, when I get big I want to marry daddy…and Briton at school.”
The time has passed so quickly. Who told her she could grow up? I scoop her up and cradle her like a baby.
“Mama, I’m not a baby. I am bigger.”
“Yes, you are bigger, but you are still my baby.”
“No, I’m not. I’m big.”
And it’s true. She is big. And smart, and funny, and stubborn, and beautiful. She is everything that makes being a mom worth it. She is my little girl who is speeding toward adulthood at light speed. I want to stop it, or at least slow it down, but I know that I can’t. I cherish the memories of her as a baby, but each bit she grows adds new memories. And I know I’ll cherish those too. I’ll file them away and pull them out when she uses the car and leaves it with no gas or borrows my makeup and “forgets” to return it.
“Mama, hold me like when I was a baby.”
I lift her and cradle her in my arms, her long legs dangling. And time stands still.