Lately, I have been having a quiet sadness lingering in my heart. A feeling of loss keeps coming over me. It creeps up on me slowly in silent moments. At night when I can’t sleep, I am hit with many thoughts about my girls growing up and this parenting thing. The constant changes and phases all four of us are going through at the moment is starting to feel so final. I had such a strong urge to hold my babies last night…to actually hold my girls as they were at one time – when they were tiny babies. But I can’t. There are no more babies in our home, only little girls.
It’s been many years since we needed to go down the diaper aisle at Target. There are no more signs of the countless “binkeys” we once had strewn throughout the house. The high chairs have long ago been removed from the kitchen. There are no more accidents at night. No more potty training princess stickers covering the bathroom walls. And while I’m sure this may all sound quite appealing to a new mommy or a mommy of toddlers for these things to be in the past, it is all very bittersweet to me. As quickly as they changed from babies to little girls, those little girls will turn into little women. And in the not so distant future, my husband and I will turn around a few times and he will walk down the aisle and give them away.
It may sound dramatic for those who don’t look back but I do this so that I can look forward. I have found that when I am introspective about the bittersweet tastes of life, it helps me appreciate and relish the current days – the mornings, the afternoons, the evenings and the moments that I am in right now. Remembering the past helps me enjoy the present a little bit more. I am learning to let the small things go, to hug them a little longer, read one more book, give them one more piece of candy, let them have more tickle time after daddy gets home and make family time more memorable. I am trying and failing but trying none-the-less, to hold each day as long as I can because I know these days will also be gone before we know it.
It is in the morning when she comes and holds her arms outstretched towards me while I’m making breakfast. “Hold me,” she whispers. And I do.
It’s in the afternoon when I catch a glimpse of so much in one little body – a bit of myself in her face embedded within a vision of who she is going to be someday.
It’s in the moment when I am holding tight to two blond heads, four arms, four legs, twenty fingers and twenty toes. They have made their home in my arms and a comfortable nest in my heart.
It is in the evening when little voices call out to me. One more book, another hug, one more goodnight. The name they call is neither my given name, nor is it my married name, but it is the best name I have ever known. It is a name that only two mouths have spoken. A name that is only for them to use. A name that I am honored to be called. “Mama.”
It’s when a single startled cry from another room can bring me a to a frantic pace, cause a quickened heart beat and stir a fear never felt before.
It’s the moment that she is talking about God’s grace and love with wisdom far beyond a seven year-old soul. My heart is overwhelmed with peace. All at once I can see the hard work, teaching, instruction, scriptures and all the love that I give returned in a way I have never imagined.
It’s in the silence when two single words uttered soft and sweet with a sincere wounded heart can change my attitude or my angry tone. “I’m sorry.”
It’s the time when I’m reading and talking to my girls and I see life through a clearer lens. God trusted me with these lovely humans whom I would give my life for, who drive me crazy and test my patience, and who bring me an unearthly joy that I can’t explain. It is then when any doubts and all of the “what if’s” and “could have beens” of my past and my future, fall into the background and disappear. There are no more “what if’s.” What else could I have possibly done in my life that would have been of greater value than to raise and be the mother of these two girls that I get to call my own? The answer is most assuredly, “Nothing.”