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."
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.
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.
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!