Lately I have been reveling in my daughters’ childhoods. I don’t know what it is, but I’m constantly feeling this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for every minute I have with them. I am loving watching them learn and grow…and there is a lot of learning and growing going on in our home these days. I don’t know why they’ve seemed so cute to me lately. When they talk, play, pretend, sing, smudge chocolate on their faces…it melts my heart.
The other day Anna was sitting at the kitchen table with us. I think we were reading books or something, but I do know we were not eating at the time. I looked up at her while she was chattering away…and her face was covered in chocolate. It was so funny. But it was also so endearing, this little two-year-old just talking away, completely oblivious to the mess that was her face.
I think maybe the strong feelings of “They’re so cute!” may be stemming from the fact that time is really starting to speed up. We all know that the older you get, the faster time flies. When we took the girls to see Toy Story 3 this summer, I was bawling through the last 5 minutes of the movie. You know, the scary mom cry. I just knew that in the blink of an eye, my own children would be heading off to college, leaving behind their own tokens of a beautiful childhood, heading off to create their own lives, and raise their own children. I’m trying with all my might to enjoy every second leading to that time. And I know it will be a beautiful time, a new adventure. I just wish the journey wasn’t so fast.
Knuffle Bunny Free arrived in the mail two days ago. The girls and I were super excited to read of Trixie and Knuffle Bunny’s latest hijinx. We were happily enjoying the story…and then we got to the end. Does Mo Willems know what he’s doing to adults everywhere? It would be mean if it wasn’t so sweet. As we neared the conclusion of the story, I was trying desperately to read with a normal voice, but the scary mom cry got in the way. I finally had to stop and explain to the girls that it was a “Happy Cry.” And THEN there was an epilogue that took everything to a Steel Magnolias level. I could seriously barely get a word out.
The killer part of all this was that Trixie isn’t heading off to college. She’s right around Cate’s age. When the story was done, Anna was upset that Trixie had given Knuffle Bunny away. She couldn’t understand it. And Cate explained to her that it was a good thing. Cate got it. Which just about did me in. Looking at my two girls, I could see right in front me the different stages that they are in and just how fast they are both powering through those stages.
Growing up is bittersweet. Without the bitter, we wouldn’t appreciate the sweet. But I’m still going to focus as much as I can on that sweetness. Especially if it’s smeared all over a cute little face.