I remember when you were new, tucked into the sling, your thumb in your mouth and your fingers brushing your brow. I felt the warmth of your smallness curled against my chest and the slow and steady rhythm of your breathing.
I bent forward to inhale deeply that intoxicating scent at the top of your head. Like every other mother before me.
Babies grown and gone, they still remember that smell.
And I inhaled of you again.
Let's linger here. Let's take this slow, I thought.
There was no need to race you toward bigness, because small is just right, too.
I didn't want to hurry you.
I had watched your brother grow from baby to toddler to boy before my eyes. In another instant you would both be grown, me holding memories where children had once been.
Why rush it along? It was my last chance.
And so we lingered.
I said yes to long nursings and longer snuggles and to you asleep by my side in the stillness of the night. There was never any hurry, and I said yes to you growing up as slowly as you wished.
The sling remained your nest, my arms your branches, my hand your sturdy hold. I let you set your own pace, because there was nowhere else to be but here. There was nothing else to be but small.
And then you grew.
Beautifully and magically you grew, from baby to toddler to girl before my eyes.
In another instant you would both be grown, me holding memories where children had once been. Why rush it along? It was my last chance.
So even still we linger, savoring that smallness that remains.
And then this week you looked at me with hopeful eyes. The same impossibly big, impossibly blue, impossibly deep eyes that peered up at me from your sling when you were brand new and I inhaled so deeply of your scent.
"Can we have a mama day," you asked standing at the brink of bigness?
May we linger in the fading smallness that remains?
Right this minute, while we have the chance.
Yes to walks and snuggles and adventures. Yes to games and stories and projects. Yes to tea and popcorn and giggling, cuddled up together once again.
Yes to climbing trees and making plans and lingering here in the slow sweetness of this day – together.
Yes to savoring your smallness while we can, if only for another day.
And even now – especially now – there is no rush for either of us to be anywhere but here.
In the the beauty of the bigness as it melts away the smallness that remains.
Originally posted in 2015.
2 thoughts on “In the smallness that remains”
This had me blinking back tears. My daughter just turned 9 and is rapidly transitioning to a ‘big kid.’ My son just turned 5, and I find myself clinging to the remaining smallness with both hands. As you said, I want to linger–it’s my last chance.
Thank you for sharing.