Our daughter will turn seven in a few months. It hurts sometimes to say this aloud because I literally feel the passage of time piercing my insides. This week, I felt the sting of this even more because her first grade teacher asked if I would share a memory of her toddler years.
I still remember all of the particulars of that day in the green grass. The blue sky loomed over us and felt like a part of us because of what it witnessed. Wisps of her light brown hair touched her face and she smiled every time she felt it tickle the corner of her eye. Her pants were a little too long, but her shirt hugged her tight so we could make out the six-pack of rolls that hid underneath. She didn’t quite understand the grass and only focused on it when she tried to take her first steps without any assistance. That is what I remember.
Grabbing my hand wasn’t an option she wanted to pursue. Instead, she walked on her own. Her spirit and will is something I will never forget. If she fell, she got back up. Smiling, the gaze of her eyes, said, “I did it on my own Momma.” There was a pride in her face that words couldn’t express. I knew in my heart that this was the first important lesson of mothering a child. A continuum of witnessing her grow and knowing that this was the beginning of letting her go.
Looking at this particular picture of her, I ask myself: How did we get here? How did almost seven years pass without me feeling the presence of time moving forward? Now she is not only walking, but running, riding her bike, contorting in all different directions to perform the latest cart-wheel or backbend or flip.
I keep uttering the same two words: remember when.
This gave me goosebumps, Rudri. I know my older daughter is just now turning four but even then, she looks so “grown-up” compared to the toddler or infant smiling in pictures around the house. The thing is, we see them every day so we don’t notice the changes. They’re imperceptible, but when you look back to their chubby years compared to who they are now, it’s hard not to marvel – and ache – at the changes. And then you wonder, where have I been and how did I not notice? This growing up and letting go thing is probably the hardest part about parenthood for me…
I agree Justine. During her first and second year, I worked full-time and missed some of those moments. Even though I was working from home, I was too stressed and wasn’t able to appreciate her as much as I could. I am in awe of her growth and can’t believe time has really flown by as quick as it has. It’s the biggest cliche about time moving quick, but its movement rings deep within me. Thanks so much for your insight.
As mothers we will continue to utter “remember when” for the rest of our lives.
My eyes welled up with tears while reading this. Something really struck me about revisiting a seminal moment from your daughter’s life just a few years later and reflecting on how much has changed in such a small amount of time. Beautiful.
Sweet and beautiful. One day she will read this and smile. 🙂 I wonder sometimes the same… Where did time go, remember when….. My son Josh is 26 and Daniel is 11. Wonderful to see them become great and responsible people but also hard to let go. Xo
I agree, Rudri. I find this part of motherhood very hard to articulate, but I feel it intensely. My child will be turning 9 next spring, and it sounds so irrational to say it like this but I don’t know how that happened…how is it that I have essentially been a mother for basically a decade?? I am scared of how quickly time moves forward and how limited our active time as mothers really is. (ugh, sorry to sound so pessimistic!)
Rudri, although I write at The Empty Nest Mom – sometimes that empty nest is still so raw to me, I can’t write about “remember when.” Some days I’m strong. Some days I appreciate the freedom. But many days – I just plain miss them so bad, that like you wrote here, I feel their passage out of the nest “piercing my insides.” Time…….sometimes I want to stop the train.