Tuesday, November 8, 2011

savor the moment

Dearest Lily,

Life has been pretty busy around here, and the next five weeks promise to get even busier.

In the midst of it all, I find myself constantly - consciously - stopping to enjoy my baby girl, knowing that these last few months before you turn two are really the end of your "babyhood."





So much about you is changing, and even though you're far from walking independently, you are taking steps each day, both literally and figuratively away from being my baby and on towards being a toddler. And while that makes Mama's heart so proud and happy, at the same time I'm just a little sad.




I love the baby stage so much- from the midnight feedings where it's just me and my baby cuddling, and nobody else is needing my time but you...to the diaper changing and spoon feeding and swaddling and rocking my baby girl to sleep. There isn't any part of it I won't miss, and I'm savoring every last moment of it all, willing these small hours to stretch to months instead of days. You may be my last baby, after all- and while I'll go on to enjoy grand-babies for years to come, there is something very unnatural and a little unnerving to me about not having a baby in our family. I'm not sure I'm ready for that, in all honesty, Lily.





All of my reflecting probably has a lot to do with the fact that your oldest sister moved out this fall, and your oldest brother (at home) is getting married next month. A lot of life changes are happening in the Rice home, and ever since I was a little girl, I've never been very good at handling change.



I still remember changing my bedroom around when I was about twelve or thirteen. I had posters of horses covering every square inch of my walls, and plastic and ceramic horse models standing on every surface possible- nightstands and bookshelves and dressers held horses of every color and shape and size: Quarter horses and Arabians, Lipizzaners and Morgans... I was consumed with horses. One day I decided to rid my room of the clutter and begin all over again with just a few of my favorites- it took me hours to carefully box up my beloved collection of posters and model horses. That night I went to bed so pleased with the result- a tidy bedroom with yellow walls that could finally be seen, and enough room on my nightstand for a clock or a drink. But at one in the morning when I woke up and looked around at my "new" room, I just couldn't take the change of it all. Quietly and determinedly I placed every single Lipizzaner and Arabian stallion back on its shelf, and every poster exactly where it had been. Hours later I went back to sleep, relieved that all was right with the world again.



And things haven't changed a whole lot thirty years later, Lily. I feel like that little girl, wanting to put everything back in its place again. I want to turn back the hands of time, when all my babies lived under one roof, the days when 18 years seemed like such a very long time to raise a child.




Because now...from this side of things...I know that it's really just the blink of an eye. Only there's no magic wand to make time stand still, no putting my toys back on the shelves to stay there forever- life is always moving forward, shifting and changing, and no matter how much I long for my baby girl to stay little forever...you are growing up right before my eyes.





So what's a mama to do? The only thing I can do. Savor every moment. Slow down and enjoy the right now, instead of always worrying or wondering what's next. Put off the morning dishes so I can watch you laugh and splash in the kitchen sink just a few minutes longer...because just that quickly you'll be too big for baths there. Say no to the extras and make time for the essentials- like playing itsy-bitsy-spider and pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo.



Relish the feel of your sleep-heavy body weighing on my chest...which is why I'm ending this letter right now, dearest Lily.



Because tomorrow you'll be walking and running  and playing and growing and well on your way to childhood...



...but tonight you are my sweet sleeping baby, and all is right with the world.


Love always,

 Mama oxox


**************************


Dear Friends,

Many of you will remember this beautiful little face from last spring...


Albina's mommy, Jonana, has just opened the sweetest etsy shop called Mattie Grace Gifts, to raise money for Albina's adoption. She is selling the most darling personalized necklaces, and there are so many to choose from. Here's the one that caught my eye...



Every reader who buys a necklace from Mattie Grace Gifts between now and Thanksgiving will be entered to win a second necklace. Just make sure to mention in the "note to seller" at check-out that Lily sent you, and you'll be entered to win. These sweet necklaces would make perfect Christmas gifts, and they are priced so reasonably...


Make sure to check out Mattie Grace Gifts and don't forget to say that Lily sent you!

17 comments:

Leah said...

Loved this post.

nicole said...

I love your Mama's heart ~ so refreshing.

Lori said...

been feeling the same exact way lately...love the pics!!

Lori said...

been feeling the same exact way lately...love the pics!!

Mrs. K said...

You have to forgive Lori, she stutters. ;=)

At least all your's that left home are within 15 minutes of you. Sixteen of our nineteen grandchildren are not even in the same state were we live. ;=(

Melissa said...

I can't believe our girls are almost 2. Time sure does fly by and I've been trying my hardest to slow it down and savor each moment too.

Twilson9608 said...

I feel the same way about Vada! When we were told that b/c of her having Ds that she would probably grow and learn slower than typical my response was that I would just have her as my "baby" for that much longer. I get excited with every milestone hit and with every new discovery that she makes but as she grows more independent I do miss those "baby" moments. When is Lily's birthday? I didn't realize that our girls are so close in age. V will be turning two in March.

cara said...

Tears!! Benji is 18 months now, and I also want to cherish everyday.

LOVE Mattie Grace Gifts. Will have to go shop.

lovemy3 said...

Love the post and really love the pics of Lily.

Lacey said...

With Jax, I still have a baby, nearly 6 years later, and the size of a two year old.
My little princess on the other hand, whew! She is ALL over the place. She is almost a walker, and I'm dreading the day that is her new means of getting around. Because I'm in trouble!!

cathy said...

I am right with you, girlfriend--

the days are long, but the years fly by when they are little.
I always say to Kevin, PLEASE just give me 1 day when they were little & needed me, only me & that is truly like hitting the lottery
savor EVERY singe moment

xoxo
cathy

Jenny said...

This was just so beautiful...Made me tear up because I have been thinking the very same things about Russell lately.

Laura said...

I've been trying to take in every moment with Ben - trying to remember is smell and sounds, etc. Time goes by too fast!

The Kirkland's said...

Beautiful post as always! I feel like I am in in a constant battle with the clock. trying to stop time so my kids will not grow up so fast! I look at my six year old and think how did this happen, how has she gotten so big. same thing with my three year old and my nine month old, and with the one I am carrying now! I know the next nine months will go to fast and I will feel like I didn't even get to enjoy the pregnancy and now I am struggling to make sure I make every moment count and that I don't forget anything. which means I have thousands upon thousands of pictures that are waiting to be printed. Life is a gift, I wish i hadn't taken so much of it for granted and started savoring each moment sooner.

Jennifer said...

My heart just melts when I read your posts and see all the beautiful pictures of Miss Lily...so precious.

Laura said...

Such is the heart of this mommy too! It is going way too fast!

BUT I hope this will encourage you: our Mylie will be 5 (!)this month and I STILL snuggle and rock her to sleep almost every day at naptime! Down Syndrome affords me this luxury because she still fits! :) By this age, my others would have hung way out of my arms and off the chair. I love that special time together in the middle of our busy days.

Just Trying Not to Blink .... said...

Another lovely post! I feel the same way - my little Pipsqueak started walking way too early for my taste and has the "toddler attitude" at 16 months. But at naptime and bedtime she is still my little baby and I'm spoiling this last one (at 46 I know she is my last) by letting her fall asleep in my arms often, and by still putting her in the baby carrier whenever she wants a lift from mom.

I find this bittersweet feeling of watching our little ones grow up, which you describe so well, overwhelming at times. But then I always remind myself that we want to stop time only because it is such a wonderful stage in life, one that was meant to be enjoyed fully. How lucky I am that I am at a place in my life where I don't want anything to change! But change it will, and so I will do my very best to enjoy every minute. Thanks for the reminder!

And thanks for posting the cute photos of Lily. I love the ones taken on the bed with the white railings.