I feel time slipping through my fingers. I have always had this irritating ability to be able to glimpse into the future. It’s the one thing that has followed me since my elementary days; I know life is short. I’ve always understood it to be true. I have always felt time slipping through my fingers. I was the kid with the old soul, wise beyond her years, and now I am just an adult watching time disappear. Maybe it’s the reason why living and loving fully is so important to me, I know we don’t have a lot of time.
I don’t think about it always, but I have these moments where it occurs to me that I won’t always have what I’ve got right in front of me. It feels a bit like an out-of-body experience. It happened to me tonight, for instance. I had just finished doing bath time with my daughter. I put her diaper on and stood her up, and as always, she gave me a long lingering hug. I held on to her, smelling her baby scented hair, the tips still wet tickling my face, and it hit me. Suddenly, an image of a time that has yet to happen popped into my mind. I wasn’t hugging my toddler daughter, but instead, I was older. I was a grandma, and she was older too, older than I am now. It scared me, not that we were older, but the reality of what aging brings with it. So, I held her even tighter, praying to God to never let me forget for the rest of my years how being in this moment felt.
Afterwards, as she fell asleep in my arms, and with that memory of our future fresh in my mind, I studied her profile. Her smooth face, button nose, round cheeks, so fragile and sweet. I want to catalogue every detail so that I will never forget how beautiful and serene she looked peacefully sleeping in my arms; or how full of love she makes my heart feel. How nothing else in this life matters as long as I have her.
I want to remember these things because time is slipping. She won’t always hug me after bath time. She won’t always fall asleep in my arms. I know that she will talk back to me one day and tell me “No!” and it won’t be cute and adorable, it will be frustrating. I know she will lie to me, I know she may even hate me for a time. I know that she will tell herself that I am the worst mother ever, and she might even tell me to my face.
I also know that as she ages, and well after her teenage years, she will suddenly see me in a new light. When the hormones have balanced, and maturity has set in; she will see that maybe I wasn’t horrible, and maybe I really did do everything I did out of love.
Then we will become friends. She won’t be my little girl who runs to me for hugs. Or a teenager who slams her bedroom door in my face. She will be my daughter who calls me for advice. She will be my daughter who one day says, “You were right!”, and I will be her mother who smiles, not too big, but just enough, because I knew I was right and I had waited all this time for her to see it. She may never apologize for hating me, but she won’t have to, because it hasn’t even happened yet and I have already forgiven her.
Yes…yes… time is slipping. But, when I am old, and I have gray hair and grandchildren, even though she may have to care for me the way I care for her now, and even though my memory may be fuzzy and full of a life long-lived; I will remember her as my sweet little girl, hugging me after her bath, with her wet hair tickling my face and my heart full of love.
This post was originally featured on Stephanie’s blog, A Navy Wife’s Life.