They say we'll miss these days, and although I argue that there are many days I won't miss, I do recognize the bittersweet twist of these moments as they pass. It will never be quite like this again. I have already forgotten the feel of the baby days that went by in a blur of exhaustion, and when I see her toddler pictures, it's like looking at a stranger. It's hard to remember a time when she wasn't fully who she is now...clever, funny, articulate, demanding, feisty, and thoughtful. How did we ever relate before she could tell me the stories of her day as we snuggle together in her bed?
She is six now, and it seems so big and momentous. We are out of the infant, toddler, preschool stages into the real essence of childhood. She can read and write on her own and has chores for which she's responsible. It's odd as I can distinctly remember being six and what it felt like to be navigating a world that was ever-expanding. She loves for me to share my memories, and she laughs, because my life is different from hers, although we are more similar than she realizes.
We have already begun the dance of clinging and letting go. She takes a step away, testing her independence, refuses to hold my hand in parking lots, and yet she won't let me leave her side at bedtime. She argues relentlessly with me over insignificant details, pushes me away in anger, and then begs for time together, just the two of us. I look into her eyes and it's disorienting. They are my eyes, and yet behind them is a spark that is purely her own. We are alike in temperament but I'm reminded each day that she is her own unique creation. We are connected, but not the same. She is learning that, and is teaching me, too.
The days are long, but the years are short, and these are the moments I want to remember forever: