Have you ever held something so beautiful, so amazing, and so fragile in your hands that you didn’t want to put it down? Maybe a gift from someone you love? How about that dress hanging in your closet, that was so perfect you didn’t want to wear it? So you stared at it from time to time, waiting for the perfect time to put it on? How about those other moments, those heartbreaking moments when you’re not thinking, and you set that beautiful gift down, and it shatters. The dress you kept waiting to wear for a perfect moment? It no longer fits you. These are those moments that you would take back if you could, right? And it’s heartbreaking that you just can’t.
That’s how I feel about Emma.
“I’m leaving, mommy”. She had her backpack on, her serious expression set in defiance, and I could hear Dan laughing from the other room. Where did she think she was going? I had to laugh, too. But inside, I couldn’t help but ache. Right now she is a two year old little girl, playing games, jumping around, singing songs.
But she won’t be, forever.
Sometimes I see her older, going to school, playing with friends, getting her license. And sometimes I see her dressed in white. I see her dancing with her father, in the middle of the room, the lights down low, the crowd hushed. I see her with her head on his shoulder, his arms around her tight, like he did when she was a little girl. And then I see her walk away happily, with the man she loves, starting her own little life. It’s going to happen, you know. So in moments like this, when she comes to me and says “I’m leaving, mommy”, I can’t help but hurt. I can’t help but miss her already.
“I’m leaving, mommy”. I know it’s going to happen. I see it clearly in my mind, that her childhood days are quickly passing us by, as each day she’s smarter and prettier and bigger than she ever was. She needs me less each day, and each day I need her more. When she tells me she loves me, I have to pull her close and tell her the same. When she cries when I leave, I long to stay. And when she tells me she’s leaving, I feel my heart break.
Because I know someday, she’ll mean it. It won’t be a silly game. It will be real.
There won’t be any toys to trip over. No singing down the hall.
Her room will be empty.
That inevitable day will come. We’ll walk her to the door and tell her how much we love her. Dan will tell a joke, but I know if I look into his eyes, I’ll see his heart breaking. She’ll smile that amazing smile.
And then she’ll kiss us goodbye.
I know. I already know how it ends. But I’m not going to wait until that dress is too tight, or until that cherished gift gets broken. I’m going to enjoy every moment with that little girl, every time she laughs or cries or screams or smiles. Because it won’t last. And I don’t want to regret what I didn’t do with her.
These moments won’t last forever, things will change. And so will Emma.
She won’t be little forever. And that’s okay. Because right now, she is.
And right now, she’s ours.