Katie at her birthday party this weekend
Oh my sweet girl.
When on earth did this happen?
I know They said it would, but it’s never real until you see it for yourself.
Because when you’re young, you don’t think about Time.
Time of day; time of the year; time of your life, sure.
But not Time.
Until one day when you look at your little girl and suddenly she’s not such a little girl anymore and you say But wait! Where did the Time go?
The days are long but the years are short, They said as they cooed over the tiny newborn in the carriage.
And you smiled and nodded politely, appreciating their earnestness, but knowing that their urgency was misplaced. Because you – you would be different. You would live in the present. You would hold on with everything you have – to every precious moment, every morsel of joy and every last sweet drop of laughter. You – you would never be Time’s fool.
And then you’ll sit with your dad on the porch watching your toddler – his granddaughter – run in the grass and you’ll hear him say as his voice breaks, Jessie that was you – five minutes ago, I swear, That was you. Hold on to this, kiddo. Hold on.
Daddy, you’ll laugh, I get it. I do.
But you won’t.
And then one day you’ll search your little girl’s face. You’ll look for your baby – your sweet, tiny baby whose entire body curled onto your chest and breathed her warm, delicious baby breath into your neck. The baby who changed you from the inside out – who made everything different in the instant that she settled into your arms and suddenly everything that wasn’t OK before was OK then. The one who taught you what love really was. The one who broke you open so that you could put yourself back together the way you were supposed to be. The tiny little person who looked up at you and made you want to be someone to look up to.
And Where? you will ask, by God where is my baby in that beautiful young lady’s face?
And when you really look, you’ll see her. Because that’s what Mamas do. You’ll see her when she’s twenty and when she’s thirty and when she’s sixty-two. You’ll see her because your baby will always be your baby.
But one day that baby will turn eleven.
And you’ll stand aside and watch her, completely awestruck by the incredible young woman who is now emerging where your baby and your toddler and your piggy-tailed little girl once stood.
And you’ll think, By God, they were right. The days were long but the years were short.
And none of us – not me, not you, not her – is immune to the tricks of Time.
And you’ll sit on her floor together and you’ll look at old pictures. And you’ll laugh.
And you’ll find one that stops you in your tracks.
And you will hear yourself saying to your baby girl who is no longer a baby –
My God, that was five minutes ago.
I swear it was just five minutes ago.
And you’ll hold on with everything you have.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful girl.
I am so proud to be your mama.