These Moments

“Mommy, can I hold you?” She holds her arms up in the air, opening and closing her tiny hands and batting those gorgeous blue eyes at me.  The answer is always yes.  I scoop her up and she lays her curly blonde head on my shoulder.  “I love you, mommy.”   My insides turn to jelly.

She’s my girl. My Anna.  Twenty-six pounds of sweetness and spunk.

The Spunk

The youngest of five, Anna is naturally spoiled.  From the moment she was born, people have fawned over her–me, her daddy, her sister, her brothers, her grandparents, church members, strangers in the street.  Really, it’s beyond ridiculous.  We’re creating a monster but I can’t bring myself to stop telling her how beautiful and smart she is.  I can’t help holding her every time she asks.  I can’t help marveling over every little thing she does. I can’t help it because I know she’s the last baby I’ll ever have.  I can’t help it because I know in the blur of raising her older brothers and sister, I missed valuable moments.  The guilt of that is overwhelming, though I know it’s not a unique experience to me.  All mothers, especially young mothers, get lost in the lack of sleep, the frustration, the uncertainty of parenting.  By the time we learn to relax and just go with it, our babies aren’t babies anymore.  We’ve missed the joy.  Anna is my chance to recapture it.

When I held her as a newborn and smelled that sweet baby head, when she smiled at me for the first time, when she said her first word, took her first steps, tasted her first lemon, gave herself her first haircut, I remembered my other children doing the same things.  When she says, “Look at me!” and does a dance or makes a funny face, I remember all the performances I’ve watched over the last thirteen years.  She’s my trip down memory lane.  I thought those memories were gone, but with every new thing Anna does, they rise to the surface, whispering, “Remember when…?”

With my last child, as with my first, I’m learning how to be a parent. This time, it’s not about when and what to feed them, how often to change diapers, when to call the doctor, or when to put them to bed.  It’s about spending time with them, listening to their stories, and  marveling at their accomplishments.  It’s about watching them grow into the people they’re going to be and seeing all the little things that brought them there.

It’s about living in the moment.

Baby Blues

The Diaper Hat Moment

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I Miss My Childhood When…

I miss my childhood when

…I smell crayons.  The waxy aroma sends me straight back to elementary school.  The back to school shopping for new clothes, shoes, and school supplies.  The excitement of putting notebooks, pencils, glue sticks, and pretty folders into my brand new backpack.  Knowing I’d see all my friends again.  Not knowing it wouldn’t last–that school could be a harsh and unfair place.

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…I see snow. Remembering the joy of snow days and having the biggest sledding hill in the neighborhood–until my mom leveled it off during a remodel.  Devastation.  My Aunt Gwen smearing chapstick all over my face to ward off windburn.  Avoiding her house at all costs whenever it snowed, I hated it so bad.  An act of love, misunderstood.

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…I feel the freezing cold water of a swimming pool as I slowly lower myself in.  Knowing the best way into the icy water is doing a cannonball as I did as a child, not a thought for the painful jolt because it only lasted a second.  Not a thought for how I looked in a bathing suit.  It was about fun.  Not appearances.

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…I taste hot tea.  The days my mom would host a tea party for me and the girls in the neighborhood.  Getting to use my very own china she had begun collecting for me.  Feeling very grown up and sophisticated until the day it became embarrassing and babyish.

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…I hear “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.  At a slumber party, my friends and I danced to the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack.  Not that we knew how to dance.  We just moved to the music and laughed so hard until we fell to the floor in exhaustion.  I haven’t had a night of dancing since.  Now it matters that I don’t know how to dance.  Even if it didn’t matter,  I wouldn’t last 5 minutes without falling to the floor in exhaustion.  And in agony from severe back pain.

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…the refrigerator breaks, the pipes get clogged, money is tight, the kids get sick or hurt, I get overwhelmed, sad, or homesick.  Sometimes, I want to be a kid again.  Carefree and happy.  When I think about childhood, I don’t remember the hard times.  I remember pure, unadulterated, sepia-colored bliss.  Of course, it wasn’t always like that, but my parents made sure it seemed that way.

And now it’s my job to do it for my own children.

So when they’re grown with children, hardships, and responsibilities of their own, they can say to themselves, “I miss my childhood when….”

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This post was written for the Write On Edge RemembeRED writing prompt.

The prompt went like this:

This week’s prompt is to use this image for your inspiration and begin your post with those words…”I miss my childhood…”