by Carrie Adams
I suppose around one’s birthday we become a bit more reflective, a touch more nostalgic, and perhaps even a bit more fearfully aware of the passage of time that seems to be speeding up over the years. There was a day I couldn’t imagine being in my mid-thirties and now here I am firmly there. I’ll admit, it sometimes takes my breath away when I catch a glimpse of my 13-year-old who stands nearly as tall as me, who without any effort I can still hear her toddler giggles bubbling up under the covers with her stuffed animals and Cheerios, brown curls flowing around her ears and her toothless smile greeting me with joy when I “discover” her hiding there. Without any trouble, I can still feel the warmth of her little body tucked into my arms, pacing the floors at 2AM singing her back to sleep. She can’t remember those moments herself, I’ll have to settle for telling her about those days when she’s willing to sit and talk for more than a moment. Today, I am lucky if I get a good night hug every evening… though I’ll never stop asking for them.
I sometimes feel tightness in my chest, when I see my blonde little Cate, her now long legs sticking out from underneath her cutoff jean shorts and scabbed knees from sliding in the dirt, reading aloud from chapter books instead of lounging patiently in my lap laying against my chest; her listening to me read her favorite board books as she points to the pictures and squealing with delight. I can still picture her round belly sticking out above her diaper as she ran through the halls of the house on much shorter legs begging me to chase her, blue eyes twinkling. She still lingers in my lap and lets me hold her close – though I imagine those days are numbered too as she will continue to grow and will slip ever so slightly from my motherly grasp more and more each day.
They overwhelm me with their spirit and energy, with their very existence. I cherish them. I cherish the mere fact that we are walking this Earth together – I couldn’t be more grateful. I live in earnest pursuit of being present in the moments I share with them, even as they pass too quickly. Sometimes I have to hold back from begging… begging them, begging this life to just slow down, just a bit… Just long enough for me to gather it all in and let their days (and mine) last a bit longer.
In the event I cannot slow time and I cannot stop their growing up before my very eyes so quickly, I will remind myself daily to take in the moments – especially the little ones – because that is where the love resides.