Time feels like my fierce competitor and I’m trying my best to outrun it-me the tortoise and it the hare as the years fly by and I’m grasping at them to slow down. Wasn’t it yesterday I was staring at your baby doll face, trying to figure out who you looked like. Was it me? With your dark skin and button nose? Or was it your daddy with your black curls and deep brown sparkle eyes? Your wide grin-well we both had that…
Wasn’t it yesterday you wrapped your chubby fingers around mine as you hobbled down the sidewalk-unsure of your footing but trudging forward. We worked hard for those steps, supported by velcro straps and pink buckles under your lavender sneaks.
Now here we are thinking about school and real life and getting along with an unprotected world. “Supports and provisions, instruction and strategies, goals and mastery and meetings and typical and less restrictive” and I’m tired just thinking about it. But you’re doing just fine Emmy girl and sometimes I just want to ignore all the lingo and remember that you’re just my little girl.
I love watching you talk to folks-genuinely fascinated by them, asking right away what they’re up to, where they’re going…they may be in a hurry until you flash your smile, ask their name and it stops them dead in their tracks. It may not be the most common or appropriate kind of exchange but its endearing and new and people remember you for the lovely way you assure them that they are interesting and worth stopping for.
I’m often in a hurry of my own, trying to get a handle on the laundry, the paper piles and past due emails. I start a Saturday with all the fierce determination of a drill sergeant until you beg me for the umpteenth time to bake cookies with you. Forgetting at first that this is the way we win the time race, I reluctantly put aside the to-do’s and we pull out the sugar and chocolate and I watch you tap-tap the egg on the mixer bowl still learning the just-right strategy to cracking. I slow down just enough to take in the sweetness of you whisking while little puffs of flour fly over the edge. You find it all so funny and you think you’re almost big enough to do it by yourself. You almost are…
Good thing I still get to fall asleep next to you. You still lay on your belly like you did 7 years ago. Someday you won’t need me here to help you drift off. Someday you’ll do it all by yourself. But not tonight. Tonight I can still watch you breathe in and out, take in your long lashes that lay softly atop your cheeks and count the wisps of hair that have slipped out of your ponytail. Tonight I can hold your soft hand as I thank God for each chaotic moment of our day and the ways you made me laugh. Tonight you’re warm next to me as I wish you every sweet dream the night will give you.
Thanks for it all, Em. For helping me slow down the minutes that make us older. The race against time isn’t really a fair contest but you make the attempt so much more beautiful. I love you.
Photo by Lindsay McIntire