Thursday, May 25, 2017

Last Moments

"Well, that's what life is - this collection of extraordinarily ordinary moments. We just need to pay attention to them all. Wake up and pay attention to how beautiful it all is." - Alexander Payne

My girls are growing up. They are such people now, if that makes any sense. Gone are the days of squishy, rounded baby feet and catching whiffs of that baby smell from the crowns of their heads. Today, I am sitting home. My girls are at school for the penultimate day of the school year. Tomorrow, Emma completes sixth grade. Violet completes tenth grade. I will have one seventh grader and one high school junior on my hands. My babies are not babies any longer.

I cannot help but think back to when they were littler – younger – and needed me so much more. How is it that some of the biggest steps were taken without me even noticing?

I don’t remember the last time I carried my children because their little legs just weren’t strong enough. I used to tote them about all the time, expertly perched on my hip I carried them, but it began happening less as they walked more and more. The walking was such an accomplishment for them. It’s a milestone for children so I never noticed what I was losing. They didn’t need me to carry them anymore. One day, I realized I hadn’t carried them in months. But I don't remember the last time their little arms reached up to me for a lift. I don't remember the last time I carried them into the house when they fell asleep in the car. They outgrew me. My arms are empty.

I don’t remember the last bath time. At one point, each of them began taking showers. And I taught them to, I know. It’s part of growing up, I would have told them. But the gift of running my hands through their fine baby hair, the time spent kneeling by the tub – uncomfortable as it was – is over. And I don’t remember the last one. There was no fanfare, no marking the occasion. One day I bathed them for the last time, and I didn’t know it was the last time.

It’s bittersweet, isn’t it? We teach them to be independent, to grow into these amazing people, but somewhere there are pieces lost on this way to gaining. I wish I could remember the last times. I wish I had those moments.

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