Jane turned four last week. I’ll be honest. It hurt my heart a little bit.
When I was pregnant, and when she was very tiny, everyone said to the same thing.
“Enjoy it, it goes so fast.”
It’s such a cliche phrase, and no parent really pays that much attention to it the first time around. You can’t possibly know how true it is. You can’t possibly know that one day you’ll turn around and the tiny baby you held will be giving you utter hell over eating their Easter candy before dinner. Or that they’ll play by themselves in their room for an hour while you take a nap. Or that they’ll suddenly not want your help with art projects. And they’ll say things like, “I just can’t even believe this” in reference to cleaning their room (more on that particular story later).
But one day you’re cleaning out their dresser and find a forgotten tiny pair of baby shoes shoved all the way in the back, and you cry. You cry because you’re so proud. You cry because you’re so happy you can sleep a solid six hours a night. But you also cry because that magic window closed. The 2 a.m. smell-their-little-baby-smell-bald-head sessions in the rocker have passed.
Now you smell their head and think, “Wow, you spent a long time on the play ground today. It’s bath time.”
And by you, I obviously mean me. But you too. I’m writing for all of us parents who get a catch in our throats because life is moving like a speed train and our kiddo’s legs are suddenly so long none of their pants fit anymore.
So I’m doing my best to soak it all in. Even the things that tire me out. She may not be a baby, but she’s still little. And one day she won’t be a baby. It moves fast. I see it now. And I’ll just be sitting here, soaking as much of it up as I can.
Because no matter how big she gets, no matter how tall, or smart, or independent, there’s another cliche phrase that most definitely applies.
She will always, always, be my baby.
And as long as I’m physically able she can crawl into my lap and put her arms around my neck and know that she has a mother who thinks she is the very best thing that ever happened.
It was a beautiful day, and a beautiful party, and a beautiful week. She’s pretty beautiful too. She played with her balloons and new fairy dolls. She monopolized Fayez’s attention (which was just fine with the two of them). She ate birthday cake for breakfast two days in a row.
And now we go forward into a brand new year, with brand new lessons, and adventure, and most importantly, love.
You are loved, sweet Jane. Always and forever.