So yesterday I'm sitting with my almost 3 and a half year old in my lap. She's the light of my life, and though I know my heart will grow two times bigger in order to have just as much love for my new bundle of joy coming soon, I can't help but have my eyes sting a little with tears at the thought of my first born baby girl growing up so fast.
She curled her fingers between mine to hold my hand and all I could do was stare at the significant difference in size and marvel at how much we as humans grow, both physically and emotionally. I told her one day her hands would be as big as mine. She stretched out her little fingers to inspect, more than likely questioning my logic. But it's amazing and flattering to know and hear from my little girl how much she wants to be like me.
"When Alaina [new baby] comes, I'll be a big girl like mommy?" she asks me in the back of the van on our way to her preschool this morning.
"Well, you'll be a big girl for sure, but it takes a while to get as big as me."
Life must seem to drag on when you're that age. I remember being ten or eleven, laying in my bed at night before the first day of school and fantasizing what it would be like when I was an adult and no longer had to go to school. I remember it was such a thrilling thought, so much so that I can still vividly feel the emotions I experienced that night. Impatience, frustration, awe . . . and now I sometimes find myself wishing the opposite. "Oh, to be a kid again. To relinquish all this overwhelming responsibility, to be able to see the magic in things again . . . "
The grass is always greener, I suppose.
All I know is my precious girl is getting so big and I do all I can to capture and treasure these moments. Because I know I'll turn away for a second and when I turn back around, she'll be a tween, then a teenager, and then a woman, a wife, a mom . . . time is such a strange thing. I can still remember fleeting moments of my life when I was her age, and my mother is eternally a thirty-something year old woman in my eyes and will always be despite the graying hair I'll never see and the wrinkles [secretly covered by botox] lining her happy features. I wonder if Averie will see me the same way, forever idolizing me as a thirty-something year old woman. Perception is a funny thing.
I know I'm going on and on and on. I just love her SO incredibly much. It's astounding when you think HOW MUCH each decision you make with your child helps mold who they become. Motherhood is the most challenging, most overwhelming, and most rewarding job I've ever had. The stinky thing is I won't know how good I've done until she has a family of her own. Like I said once before to someone, child rearing is a lot like a science experiment, except you don't get your results for about thirty years. I was terrified of having another child, which is funny considering I use to want FOUR. Would I play favorites? How could I love another child as much as I love my Averie? Will I constantly compare? How on earth will I find the time for both of them? Will Averie feel less loved?
As my pregnancy slowly drags on (it's actually gone much faster than Averie's) I'm starting to feel a little more . . . secure about my mothering skills. I've learned not only do our kids gain so much from us, but we learn so much from them too. My patience, wow. It's grown ten times bigger than when she was born. My tolerance, my negotiating skills, my understanding that almost every single thing is brand new to them in some form or fashion and to let them embrace it no matter how late you're going to be to your dentist appointment. Sometimes, the wild flower weeds growing in the front yard are much more important than being on time to get your teeth cleaned. And in embracing the wide-eyed discoveries of my little girl, I *almost* get to re-experience the marvels of our world in the eyes of a child. Almost. It's never the same though. Adulthood comes packaged with cynicism and realism, even for the idealistic people as myself.
When you start to really see the world around you beyond the beauty of nature and other child-like things, you see how evil and disappointing the world can really be. And as a parent, a mother, I want to protect my children from that for as long as possible until I know they're at the age that they must learn how hard of a world it can be. Besides, it's not like I want to throw them out into the real world without being prepared. But life is so short, and there are so many things we take for granted including the speed in which kids grow. It seems only yesterday my baby WAS a baby, barely able to crawl, gurgling as language, and relying on me to feed her. Now she walks, runs, holds entire (and very humorous) conversations, on top of feeding herself when she isn't being lazy.
Honestly people, where does the time go?