The thought of focusing on and writing about a delight was a daunting endeavor. When the theme was revealed, I joked that I delighted in nothing. Although that sounds dramatic, I do tend to cycle through moods varying from mild amusement to extreme anxiety. Regardless, I put myself to task and decided to expand an ongoing note I had been keeping. The note is a conglomerate of thoughts, noticings, and memories of my daughter. I am a millennial mom, so I have thousands of photos of her on my phone. But I am also a writer mom, so I could not deny the inclination to document these small moments in prose.
People often remark on how quickly children grow and I generally nod as if in agreement; though in reality, I don’t give it much thought. To be honest, I was of the opinion that these comments were made by parents who were less present or mindful as their children were growing. Their wisdom and my misbelief revealed itself as I worked through this piece. It wasn’t until I began reading back these small moments that I truly realized how much she was growing and the breakneck speed at which it was happening.
It is with no small amount of tears that I was able to complete this week’s writing at all. My motherhood journey has been filled with the unexpected. There are countless emotional twists and turns, as well as challenges and humbling realizations, but this exercise in delight has easily been among the most rewarding. It showed me that no matter how present you are, it does nothing to slow the passage of time.
That is what I believe people are truly commenting on when they mention how quickly children grow. Though you may cherish every second, it will happen in the blink of an eye; even more quickly if you do not slow down to notice it happening. So I encourage you to pause and really look at those in your life whom you love – watch their faces as they smile and their eyes as they revel in joy. It is my hope that you will find what I have found in my daughter — a delight.
I hope I never forget the sweet sounds of your soft, high-pitched voice as you sing incoherently far too early in the morning. Sometimes your song carries over the white noise echoing from the machine on your dresser and through the darkness, to where I lay in bed. Other times it is a melody in my ear from the place where you nestle best – on my left arm, causing a perpetual pinch in my shoulder. It is a persistent reminder that to one small person, I am a place of absolute safety.
I hope I never forget the unexpected giggles that escape you during the most mundane moments. The sound catches me off guard and often I laugh with you. Occasionally I will pause and try to determine what your mind has found giggle-worthy, but usually I am left to wonder. Maybe when you’re older, you will share the secret to finding such joy in something that is unnoticed and unremarkable to the rest of us.
I hope I never forget what it’s like to find your toys set unusually in odd places. The blocks stacked precariously high and left to teeter on the edge of a chair, or the row of animals arranged in an order whose logic is known only to you, cause me to marvel at how your mind works. Random though they may seem, these efforts are your masterpieces. I love to stumble upon these creations that offer a glimpse through your eyes of the newness and possibility in the world.
I hope I never forget the feeling that overwhelms me when you halt whatever adventure you’re on simply to run and hug my legs. Tiny arms wrap around reaching for the backs of my knees as you whisper “mmm” and press your head against me. I cannot say for sure if you know what the gesture truly means, but I can tell you feel the love between us when you do it. It is my greatest hope that you will always feel such a warm, assuring love when we are together.
I hope I never forget the little smile that spreads so easily across your face. At the sight of a dog, the revelation that mama caught you climbing too high, or a bubble that lands perfectly on your foot — that beautiful smile effortlessly blooms. I know there will be times when it seems as though that smile is impossible to coax out. It is in preparation for those days that I hold so tightly onto the image of your cheesy toddler grins. It is contagious and has the power to transform the routine to the memorable.
I hope I never stop noticing how your face lights up with the joy of a new discovery. It’s through your eyes that I get to experience these things anew. Like it’s my first time, too. Your happiness is often rooted in the simplest instances and most trivial objects — there is truly no one more mindful than a child. I am endlessly grateful for the way in which you unintentionally remind me to slow down.
I hope I never forget these days filled with the rise and fall of your toddler’s cadence, broken occasionally by your growing vocabulary. I marvel at the the power of your growing intellect as you uncover and use new language. Whether in the car, your bed, or wandering around the house, there are few moments of quiet when you are near. I love to hear the sounds you make, some recognizable and others complete gibberish. It won’t be long before your words will come with ease and this short time of transition from baby babble to coherency will end. Like so many bittersweet milestones before it, the change will be both welcomed and missed.
This collection of moments will most certainly never be complete, but that won’t prevent me from hoarding as many of them as my heart can hold. There is no greater delight in this world than hearing your tiny voice call out my name. The name only you can say, because I am only mama to you.
With so much love,