Monday, August 22, 2016

Milestones and Memories

Tomorrow my heart is going to climb the steps of a big yellow bus for the first time and drive away.

I've spent the better part of an hour looking at pictures and memories of my first baby with my heart in my throat and tears in my eyes.

I remember countless nights holding him on my shoulder. Some nights it was the only way he would sleep. When was the last time he fell asleep in my arms?

He had a ridiculously adorable hairstyle. When was the last time I got to feel those sweet baby-soft locks?

His first steps were unsteady and careful. Now he runs. When did his baby wrist rolls disappear?

I hear "I can do it myself," often now. I'm proud of his independence, but when was the last time he needed me to open his juice? When was the last time I reminded him not to squeeze it too hard when he picked it up?

The answer to all of these questions is: I can't remember. 

We look forward to and make memories out of all the milestones: the first smiles, first laughs, first steps and first day of Kindergarten. But how could we possibly know to treasure and record the passing of all of the little moments, too? 

The last time he would crawl instead of walk.

The last time he needed my hand to jump down off of a step.

The last time he would grunt for "yes" instead of speak it.

The last time he would need me to read him Goodnight Moon, Dr. Suess's ABC's and the Going to Bed book on repeat until he fell asleep.

The last time he needed me to catch him at the end of the slide.

I have an overwhelming feeling that I'm not remembering all of the things I will want to remember and it's breaking my heart.

But maybe that's why we have days like The First Day of Kindergarten. Days where we can stop for a moment, look at our children and realize how far we've come. We can recall many of the beautiful moments that have passed in the space between their birth and this instant and reflect.

At some point our children move from being a collection of precious moments to being their own entity. I may not be able to remember every minute of my child's existence, but each minute has built on the one before it to create this beautiful, tiny human. 

A beautiful, tiny human that might look back at me for the last time tomorrow as he climbs onto that big yellow bus.

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