Has there ever been any greater indicator of the passing of time than a growing child? This daughter of mine is a tiny and magnificent reminder of just how quickly our days are passing us by; of how steadily we are aging and growing; and of how important it is to not waste the time we have with one another as we are today.
"These are the days that must happen to you," said Walt Whitman. As slowly and arduously as some of them pass, these are our days, indeed. We must trudge through the temper tantrums, the altogether too-soon experimentation with autonomy, the endless baskets of laundry, and the fights over food consumption, bedtime, and whether it's okay to brush family members' hair with the broom (Hey Margot, it isn't).
I'm never quite sure as to whether I'm doing a good enough job of soaking each day in - of not letting these days and these moments pass me by. I'm always careful to acknowledge and appreciate so many moments throughout my day and my time with my growing girl, but I'm still somehow always knocked off my feet when I look back on old pictures I've taken of her and wonder how exactly she's changed as much as she has. And I can never quite make sense of how big she's gotten anytime I slip into her room at night to watch her sleep - I'm continually taken aback by those long limbs splayed all over the place in her crib, and by the soft beauty in her sleeping face; there are times when I swear I can tell exactly what she's going to look like when she's grown.
But how did we get here? How are there vast expanses of time, and milestones reached and surpassed, whose very existence I can barely remember? Am I intentional enough in giving and receiving love from my sweet girl? Well, yes - I'd say there's no question I am. But am I doing a good enough job of remembering and documenting all her little moments and nuances, the funny things she says, or the great milestones she's hit? This I know I am not. And while I know this isn't the most important thing there ever was in the world, I just so desperately want to remember. Or, more than that, I think what I really so desperately want is to stay here in these moments forever.
Has anyone ever made logical sense out of a parent's deeply intense need to keep their children small, whilst at the same time marveling over what a wonder and delight it is to watch them grow? How desperately we wish for a pause button, a rewind button and an ever-steady play button all at the same time? Or how we'd oftentimes chew off our right arm for a quick push of a fast-forward button?
Being a mother to my beautiful Margot James is everything. It is a ridiculously trying task, it is a pleasure greater than I could ever have imagined, and it is everything to me. I think I just wish I could soak up more of her.