I just went to get something down from a shelf in the coat closet and a whole bunch of pictures fell. I had forgotten they were there and I couldn't see them because the shelf is high. I indulged for a moment and looked through them. The emotion that followed was surprising to me. The emotion was sadness and a sense of loss.
Let me backtrack.
As some of you know, my oldest daughter officially has her own room. We completed the switch yesterday. While she was SUPER excited (to say the least) yesterday as we were moving things, the SUPER excited turned to a little bit nervous as bed time approached. One of the decorations I got for her new room was a pin board (you know, the fabric covered ones?). She loved it as it fed right into her 6.5 year old vanity. She immediately covered it with pictures - of herself, of course! As gathered the picture frames with her picture in it, I realized that there were older pictures behind the ones we saw. It was a trip down memory lane to see her regress in age right before our eyes. She thought it was amazing (and she certainly thought she was the cutest. baby. ever.) but me? I felt a tug of sadness.
I asked myself the question "do I remember where this picture was taken?" "Do I remember why I felt like I had to capture this moment?" "Do I remember Maya this way?" As these came up, I dismissed them because the answers to them were truth...and the truth was I didn't. Sure, some pictures I knew where it was taken, but I don't know why. The saddest part? I don't remember Maya that way.
I have distant, foggy memories of all my children when they were small. Even now, it's hard for me to picture them any other way than the way they are. I'm not talking their personality, but the way they look. Seeing these pictures of Maya and the ones that fell from the coat closet threw reality in my face. This reality is the fact that my kids, without my consent, are growing and changing right before my eyes.
I get it - this is the way it works. Years go by, we get older, we get smarter, we get bigger...but someone forgot to send me the memo that when it is OUR kids, all of this is exaggerated to a lightening speed pace.
I would do anything for one more day of Maya as an exceptionally chubby 8 month old - willing to laugh at any silly face in front of her. I would trade years off my life for one more day of Avery's way-too-wise eyes of a 4 month old to flutter off to sleep in my arms. I covet one more day of seeing Edie as a baby, staring at her sisters in awe and flashing that all-too-cheesy toothless grin. Anything.
What has all of this taught me?
It's taught me that playing play-doh, although it's my LEAST favorite thing in the world, is what matters. It's allowing the kids to help me stir the cookie mix even though I know more will end up on the counter than in the bowl. It's to go mental with the garden hose just because it's hot and we have a change of clothes just steps away. It's to memorize the sound of their laughter, the sparkles in their eyes, and the feeling of their ever-growing-very-dense bodies in my arms as we snuggle. It's to be able to close my eyes and picture them as they are, as they were and as they will be.
I realize this is nothing new to women who have children. I figure every Mom has gone though this at one point. I suppose my reality hit me today - in the form of falling pictures from a too-high shelf. It didn't hurt my body, but it sure did hurt my heart.
Love & Light