“Mommy, hold me!” he said as they walked out of the airport bathroom. She groaned and said, “Really!?” as she pulled up the happy, heavy three-year-old and walked away with him on her left hip. Though it appeared she conceded and lifted him up with hesitation, part of her deep down actually wanted to hold him. Part of her still wants to be able to have him close. Part of her that she isn’t aware of is realizing that he will ask to be held less and less. And it’s true. He will stop asking.
Life is short, they say. It’s one of the most common clichés we use when we experience the loss of a loved one, a life-changing milestone, or witness growth that seems it has happened in an instant. We all know life is short, but do we actively do anything to combat that imminent fate?[adsanity id=”35664″ align=”aligncenter”/]
It’s easy to tell parents of newborns, “Don’t blink…they grow up fast,” but then in the same instant we turn around and tell our own three-year-old to “walk like a big girl.” I notice myself looking at other people’s babies (in a totally non-creeper way, I swear), wishing my toddler was small enough to cradle in my arms again; yet in the same hour, I catch myself daydreaming about the days when she is in kindergarten so I can take her to work with me. I wonder what kind of student she’ll be, I notice other children that I think she will act like in two years, and I even fantasize about how helpful she’d be as a big sister.
Looking back. Looking forward. We all do it. It’s human nature to reflect on the past and plan for the future, yet we really fail often at being present. I don’t mean going to the park and pushing your kiddo on the swings for a few minutes… I mean really present. I mean your phone is away, you REALLY are listening to her, and you are actively soaking in the wonderful that is that moment.[adsanity id=”35667″ align=”aligncenter”/]
Sometimes I have to actually walk my phone over to the other part of the house and leave it there. Some days I catch myself in the middle of something and responding to her 55 statements with the mundane “uh huh… yah… I know… yah! uh huh!” and she totally picks up on it. It is in those moments you are losing so much. It is in those moments that you must really catch yourself and become an active participant in her conversation about how she switched her bitty baby’s dress to a different one. Those are the times you don’t ever get back. Those are the times you need to remove yourself from your own egocentric bubble and place yourself back into her present.
It’s actually kind of hard to do. Trust me, I know… There is always a friend who you just have to “send a quick response to” or an email “that just can’t wait” or “noodles that have to be boiled.” I can promise you, there will always be those things. But another thing I can promise you is that your child will not always be there, asking you to play picnic on her bedroom floor. She won’t always be there, greeting you with superfluous information about all her friends and their choices at preschool. And she definitely won’t always ask you to hold her.[adsanity id=”35665″ align=”aligncenter”/]
Talk about her friends at preschool for the 87th time. Let her tell you about the rocks she found in your parking lot. Let her show you her super amazing fantastic Cinderella dress that you have seen countless times since last Christmas.
Tomorrow, she may not.
Today, hold her.[adsanity id=”35666″ align=”aligncenter”/]
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