There are days when I ache with this truth.
I feel it in the marrow of my bones.
Clear into my soul.
Because I know.
These days are fleeting.
Nothing lasts forever.
Not the sleepless nights of a newborn nor the angst of a pre-teen.
Not the sweet milky smile of a baby nor the quick humor or this half-grown child.
Our life has become this pile of snapshots and in each photo I can see you growing up.
Sometimes it feels so fast I can scarcely breathe.
No, nothing lasts forever.
And so I look around and wonder where the time has gone.
It turns out that “this too shall pass,” my motto on the hardest days, applies to everyday.
And suddenly I don’t want to squander a moment.
Today is fleeting.
And I wonder when my son will be as tall as me.
And when my daughter will no longer curl in my lap and kiss my cheeks.
I wonder at how much longer my arms will be the welcome nest that my children flock to, encircling them as they sleep.
And when they will finally pull away.
And so tonight I will lay beside you until you are soundly dreaming, just in case I wake tomorrow to discover that you’ve grown up.
I will listen to your breathing and remember the days when you were small and sometimes it seemed so hard.
And I wonder why it seemed so hard.
In the darkness I promise myself to lead with my heart.
To lead with compassion.
I promise myself to stop wasting time speaking words I will regret.
I imagine this life with children grown, off to write their own stories and live their own adventures.
And while my mind delights in them finding their wings, my heart weeps at the suggestion.
And there is that ache again.
Perhaps that ache is love.
True, full, indescribable love. The kind that you didn’t know existed until you had children of your own.
The kind you can’t explain now because language is inadequate.
The kind of love you whisper into small, sleeping ears because you just need them to know what is unknowable.
This much love.
Yes. Maybe that ache is the feeling of a heart bursting from a fullness that is immeasurable.
And perhaps that ache will help us remember what really matters.
May it keep us kind.
May it keep us playful.
May it help us find the words and be the parents that we want to be.
Words like “I’m sorry,” and “It hurts,” and “I understand.”
Words like “I love you,” and “You are enough,” and “I am here.”
Words that heal us and connect us.
May it help us remember how it feels to be small.
I remember how it feels to be small.
May we live this life and guide these children with the goal of having nothing to regret.
Not one thing.
And may we remember always that when the sun sets on today our child will be one day older.
One day closer to grown.
And that tomorrow is another chance to start again.
Oh, yes. These days are fleeting.
So I will savor the taste of my child’s spirit when it rises up.
I will skim it off and drink it deeply.
So that I never forget these fleeting days.
So that I never forget this perfectly ordinary day that will be dust and snapshots tomorrow.
Today I will hold you in my arms.
I will listen to your dreams.
I will take your hand and go wherever you wish to go.
While you still want to journey there together.
Because soon it will be time.
Time to open my arms and let you go.
As you find your wings and soar.
And I ache.
Originally posted in 2013 on CLEAN.
Photos by Ray + Kelly Photography.