Sometimes, when I can’t fall asleep, I sift through pictures in my mind of before. I lie in bed, heart pounding, throat throbbing, repressed tears threatening to absolutely overwhelm me if I let them – because of this gift, and how quickly it’s passing me by.
Of becoming a mother and remembering every detail that my too-fast life with them will let me recall. Memories come back to me in fragmented bits … little pieces of stained glass that join together in an endless collage of colors and lenses I miss looking through.
I am so blessed.
But love – love this big … quite simply, it hurts.
It hurts because even when you try to savor every second, they still pass. It hurts because the world isn’t perfect and they are … so you need it to be, but can’t change it. It hurts because even when they’re too big to crawl up onto your lap, a part of them wants to, so you hold on instead for a too long hug – and it never feels like enough.
When she was nine months old, I was about to put her in bed, and she placed her tiny hands on either side of my face. She held me there, and stared at me so intently … her bright eyes telling me all the things she couldn’t say, but found a way to share nonetheless.
When he was off to his first day of Kindergarten – unafraid and excited for whatever came next, I asked him for one more hug. “For me buddy, not for you,” I’d said. He smiled big and hugged me tight. “It’s okay mommy,” he whispered in my ear, “I’ll miss you too.” Taking care of my heart at five, and checking in with me ever since.
She is my starlight. He is my keeper.
And though I am the farthest thing from what they deserve, I am on-my-knees grateful that God gave them to me … even for a time as fleeting as this. Because although I know I love imperfectly, I also know I love them fully – to the very edge of myself, almost beyond bearing it.