To my baby on your birthday,
I know I can’t call you that anymore- my “baby.” I know it makes you wrinkle your nose at me and say “but mama, I’m not a baby. I’m a BIG BIG girl!” And yes- it’s true, you ARE a big girl these days, but in my heart, you’ll always be my sweet little baby.
And I’m not sad that you’re growing up. I look forward to all the new things you learn, and experience each and every day. I love watching the unique little person you’re becoming (even if some days that person and I can’t figure out how to see eye to eye). Yes, my baby, seeing you grow does not make me sad at all- it’s knowing just how quick and fleeting all of these little moments are that make me wish for time to slow down, just a little.
Because it feels like it was just yesterday that I felt you squishing around in my belly and wondered what these very moments would be like. Would you have blue eyes, or green? Would you be tall like your daddy? And that sass- I think it’s safe to say that we all KNEW you’d be full of sass from the very moment you were born.
And now, as you are curled up in my lap fast asleep, listening to that familiar old creak of the chair in the darkness of your room, I take a minute to pause and slow down. I soak it all in, because I can feel it coming- change is in the air. You are getting so big now. Your face has lost all of the baby fat, and instead has been replaced with the face of a little girl. In fact, you don’t look like a baby at all anymore. You clamor for independence with everything you do more and more each day (“I can do it all by myself” has become one of your favorite phrases). Your long legs know how to jump, and run, and pedal a tricycle. Those chubby little baby fingers have been replaced with long lean ones, just like mamas, that can build Lego towers, and color with markers, and leave sticky little fingerprints all over our house. Yes, my sweet little baby, I know these moments when you’ll let me sit here with you in the dark, rocking in the very same chair we rocked in the first day you came home with us, will all be over in the blink of an eye.
I know our days of bedtime stories and lullabies are limited. I know that as much as I crave the days when you can do things for yourself, that once they’ve arrived, I will miss you needing me so much. I know that while a kiss and a band aid can make the boo boos feel better today, one day soon those same tears will be about Big Girl things- things that a mama can’t simply kiss away. I know that these sweet little moments can’t last forever, and so I cling to them as desperately as I can, praying that I’ll always remember the way you giggle when the dog comes in to wake you up in the morning. Or the way your little tongue pokes out when you’re really concentrating hard on something. Or how perfectly your little body fits in my lap when we’re all snuggled in to watch Mickey Mouse on the couch.
So as you fall asleep tonight, I rock you just a little bit longer. I hold you just a little bit tighter. I study your face. And even though you’re changing and growing every day, you’re still so little to me.
But the truth is, you are not the only one who has been growing, my little darling. Every mistake, every bump in the road, every time we fall down; we fall down together. You have completely blown the roof off of who I used to be, and each day you teach me a little bit more about just what it means to be someone’s mama. You are so much of who I am today. Of who I’ve become. And of who I WILL become in the future. You are the reason I take time to slow down and soak it all in. You are the reason that all of ‘the feels’ hit me so much harder now. You are my very big little girl, and you, my love, will always be my sweet little baby.
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