Saturday night at Red Robin while I was stealing bites of Evie's Mac-n-cheese, it slipped out of my mouth. "Oh. My. Goodness. Toddler food is so much better than grown up food." I'm sorry, what? What did I just say? I don't have a toddler. I really really don't. Sure, she's a long way from my tiny little newborn babe, but she's a long way from toddlerhood still. She's still an infant and needs me. Still a baby. She hasn't taken those precarious first steps into toddler hood yet. She's still a baby.
Then the lady behind me was nursing this teeny tiny squishy little, like, two week old baby. And there it was: the truth. The fact that I feel like we are so close to Evie walking, to morphing from a baby into a little girl. She's already so strong and independent I know when she takes those first steps into toddlerhood they will also be steps she takes away from me. She is losing some of her baby chunk. Her rolls are beginning to fade and her limbs are beginning to take on the appearance of a child. She is infinitely closer to toddlerhood than baby hood.
I often pray for help with slowing down to see and appreciate my world. I spend so much of my time in a state of anxiety, rushing from place to place, accomplishing one task so that I can get on to the next. The challenge of being a mother is that the tasks are inummerable, yet putting them off to enjoy our children is essential. So I pray to God to go slow, to help me savor each moment as much as I can.
Still, as much as I try and try to slow down, I feel time is rushing by me whistling in my ears like the wind. I cannot grasp it and like all mothers I lament how quickly it passes as my baby grows and grows into toddler hood, childhood and (God help me) a teenager. It is the mark of motherhood, this type of joyful grief.
Then Sunday I saw a small post on Facebook from a distant aquaintance asking for prayers for a friend whose three year old daughter died at St. Jude. Aside from being very saddened all I could think was three years with your child is far, far too little, and in my head I mourned for her all the tiny moments I anticipate with Evie; the same tiny moments that this woman will have to spend a liftime ticking off as "would have beens". I thought hard about the fact that this woman would love to be in position marveling over the quick passage of time. There is no tearful joy as her baby reaches the next milestone; instead I am sure, time has ceased.
I cannot say that it will always be so, but that night I prayed a different prayer. I prayed that I would get to be a mother to my dazzling baby girl for fifty years, and at least fifty more after that. I prayed for little hands, sticky with petit four icing at a two year old's tea party, for her first day of Kindergarten clinging to her Daddy's leg, for reassuring words whispered in her ear as I leave her at her first slumber party, for a dozen bubblegum pink roses after her first school play, for inexpertly applied blue-green eyeliner at fourteen, for mopped up tears when her heart is broken by her first love, for a single long stemmed red rose at her highschool graduation, for sorority rush, for a princess in her perfect wedding dress, for tears wept while her Daddy walks her down the aisle, for two pink lines, for watching my new born grandbaby so she can get some sleep, for all of it.
If I have one last prayer to pray as I rush headlong into the territory of being a toddler momma it would be simply for the gift of time, slow or fast, time to spend being a mother to my girl for the rest of my life. Time may move too fast, but there it is anyway, begging us to enjoy the moments as they pass.